Quynh-Hoa Nguyen is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as director of leadership development of the United Methodist Mission in Vietnam.
Following Jesus to Vietnam
Moving Mountains ... One Shovel, One Basket, One Cart at a Time
Background: The Shawnee Valley District mission to Vietnam arose out of an effort that began in 2001 when three strategic events happened: 1) Bishop Ough and others traveled to that country, 2) General Board of Global Ministries designated Vietnam as a UMC Mission Initiative, and 3) Ut and Karen Vo To were appointed missionaries to Vietnam. Between 2001 and 2008, 3 groups from the West Ohio Conference went toVietnam. In 2008 the Shawnee Valley District made a commitment to focus efforts to help with the growth of the United Methodist Church in Vietnam, and kicked off their first annual “Rally in the Valley,” followed by the first mission trip of the Shawnee Valley District to Vietnam in spring of 2009.
The Rally in the Valley: Since 2008, each year Shawnee Valley has hosted a spring “Rally in the Valley”. At each of these Rallies, churches from all around the district bring their financial commitments for their support of the UM Church in Vietnam. To date over $796,000 has been collected and deployed, used in various ways, from supporting pastors to buying motorbikes to helping to buy a conference center to supporting orphans housed in the United Methodist orphanage.
Mission Trips: Each spring, beginning in 2009, Shawnee Valley has sent a mission team to Vietnam. When the first team from Shawnee Valley went to Vietnam in 2009, there were 68 UM churches in Vietnam. Now, under the amazing leadership of Ut and Karen Vo To, there are over 200! During our mission trips, Shawnee Valley has trained pastors, visited and supported churches, led countryside motorbike rides (leaving behind the much needed motorbikes to transform the Vietnamese Pastors’ ministries), visited and supported different UM ministries, including most recently a UM orphanage.
Strategic Initiatives in the Future: Several directives have been identified for future work. Among these are development of a multi-year stewardship effort, with a goal of helping the church in Vietnam become financial self-sustaining. Also, a Large Church Initiative is in the planning stages. Meanwhile, we continue to help with salary support for some pastors, building churches, the youth of our district are seeking to support orphans, and a host of other ways we are financially supporting this amazing movement of God’s spirit.
Beyond many accomplishments of the tasks listed above, though, a strong bond has been formed between the District and our brothers and sisters in Vietnam. We have laughed together, cried together, worshipped together, and supported one another, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. God is working powerfully, and we are privileged to participate! Following Jesus to Vietnam has shown us that mountains can truly be moved, one shovel, one basket, one cart at a time!