Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Three weeks from right now, I'm in the air for Moscow/Singapore/Saigon followed by a four hour bus ride to Can Tho- my sixth trip! This is about a young man who helps make the journey worthwhile. It is from August 1, 2012.

I'm weary but I'm back in the US after a twenty-eight day mission trip to Vietnam. I've slept very little in the past seventy-two hours. I said I'm weary but I'm not really tired. Those of you who have endured jet lag understand the effect of twenty-five hours in the friendly skies on a jaunt from Saigon to Moscow to Houston, preceded by a three and a half hour bus ride from Can Tho. Over the next several days I want to share some stories about my adventure.

This was my second summer mission to work with Tom Tune, an eighty-three year old American missionary. Tom has established a church and a program to obtain sponsorships for poor Vietnamese children to be able to attend public school. There are plans to add a licensed school which would teach area boys and girls how to speak/read/write English. Tom lives in an apartment owned by the church which formerly served as the meeting place. At various times, there are roughly eight to ten others staying there as well, mostly twenty-somethings and all but one related. My responsibility was to teach Bible classes in English to the young ladies who live there each night and to preach on Sundays. As last summer, my time finished long before I was ready to return home, to the life which I am comfortable with here in the US.

Dat lives in the house with his sisters, aunt, cousins, and Tom. He's ten but if he were in the US, you'd guess seven. We've bonded the past two Julys as is suggested by the pictures above we both occupy. He's an incredible kid! Dat is very bright and has engineering skills which would make architects envious- I saw him spend the whole day playing with a balloon which probably cost a penny. He's kind and affectionate. He always wanted to hug me and hold my hand. I cannot remember ever holding may father's hand but then, my father was always there and I never feared his disappearance. You see, Dat's father was killed in a motorcycle crash about eighteen months ago and it's obvious he feels something is missing. Dat lives with his mother during school but stays with Tom and his other relatives during the summer months. His sisters love him and care for him and discipline him but well, guys need guys. Dat clings to Tom and when I'm there, he clings to me. Five years ago last night, my father had the stroke which cost him his life even though he hung on until April. I wish I had the chance to cling to my dad but I had him for many years but Dat wasn't so blessed. Sometimes guys like me get to fill in for awhile. Dat doesn't have a father, I don't have a son. If I did, I've got a picture of who I'd want him to be like.

Applicable quote of the day:
"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry."  
William Shakespeare

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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