IFFAsia Alumni in Vietnam giving youth camp for the Indigenous youth

With the initiative of Lou Phuong (an IFFAsia alumni), we immediately said yes to her parish priest’s invitation to give a camp for their 30 Catechists in June 21-22, 2019. The parish is located in a high mountain area in Dak Tuk, Kontum province. We understood what was needed and would like to do something for the indigenous youth. We had ride 2 buses and it took 15 hours to reach the village. This village welcomed us with good weather and nice people. They took care of us, even with the lack of facilities, from the food to the accommodations. Even though some of them came from the far villages, they were there at 8.30am to attend the program. They left their daily work and their worries behind to give fully of themselves and concentrate on the program ahead.

On the first day, they joined the team-building activities and followed by a time of reflection on their dreams. We could see their uniqueness, unity, strength and talents. Their dreams were so simple – it is not to be rich, be talented, be wealthy for themselves instead, they dream for their families, their villages, and their country.

The second day, they made their personal development plans for the second half of the year. It helped them to know how to make their dreams a reality. It was the first time they did it, writing their dreams on paper, far from their livelihoods, from what they’re used to. When we asked them “Why”, and said because in their minds, they are just farmers. Every day they work with the buffalo, the cows, plow…they don’t know how to plan for their lives. For them, life is good enough with food and clothes.

The program was concluded with a prayer where they offered their drawings of their dreams and written personal development plans and planted seeds as a symbol of their commitment to God. We believed that God will listen to their prayers and receive their hearts, hopes, dreams and minds. After that, we took the Words of God as a compass to make their dreams come true and gave them the strength to overcome their weaknesses and fears.

It was hard to say goodbye to them because of the joy and the connections that bloomed from this short encounter, but we had to leave. On our way home, we were thinking about them and in our hearts felt that the mission was not finished yet. We hope to be back there one day to bring joy and hope to assist the indigenous youth to dare to dream and make it happen.

We might have more money, facilities, and knowledge but we lack simplicity of life and the contentedness with our lives. We started to learn how to treasure and be happy with what we have, and thank God for bringing us there to encounter His blessings through their lives.

We are very grateful to those who brought us to these people of God-the parish priest and Lou Phuong, and to our dedicated team Mary An, Thu Thao, Lou Phuong, Ban Mai, Loc. We also thank the kindness and financial support from Thien Vinh, Kevin Tam, Joseph Pham, and to everyone who always prays for us.

By Loc Le (IFFAsia Alumni, SY. 2016)

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