Friday morning we visited the War Remnants Museum. This was a very moving experience for each one in the group. The museum speaks for itself, recording the impact of the war in different regions of Vietnam, as well as for the US military, as told by the news reports. Rex, who was a serviceman during the war, said, “I found it overwhelming. This tour helped me to learn to know the ‘enemy’, the people are so forgiving and welcoming.” Ruth asked the question, “Who is the enemy?”
We visited the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon as well as the Post Office.
At the famous Ben Thanh Market we used up our Vietnamese Dong currency. Bertha wanted some Christmas gifts. Wilmer wanted some ginger for his daughter-in-law. We enjoyed our farewell dinner before going to the airport for our evening flight to Singapore.
Yesterday we enjoyed a more relaxing day traveling around Singapore on the Hop-on Hop-off bus. In the morning our group visited the famous Hindu Temple, as well as the Botanical Gardens. With the temperature at 33° C and the humidity so high, it took a lot of energy to walk around. We all enjoyed the orchids; this climate is perfect for them.
Last evening, over dinner, we were blessed to have a round table. All 17 of us could see and hear each other. Following is a listing of the group’s reflections from our tour to Vietnam:
- Deep appreciation for Luke’s stories and interpretations, the history of Vietnam and the Mennonite Church.
- The Vietnamese people are so forgiving, tolerant and respectful of their neighbours.
- The Conference impacted us. The choirs from the hill people who have suffered so much. We shared a moment in time.
- We are blessed to visit people who are content. They are not able to visit us. Our capacity to visit them brings us a responsibility.
- I found it overwhelming to be able to visit and learn to know the Vietnamese people. I was trained they were the “enemy.”
- Mennonite missions first came to Vietnam in 1957. Now there are 97 registered Mennonite congregations with over 10,000 members. There is an equal number of unregistered congregations and members. Luke says God has blessed this work far beyond our understanding.
This morning we worshipped with the Singapore Mennonite Church. This congregation has many young professionals. Today was Communion Sunday. They also presented the 8 members who were baptized last Sunday with their Bibles and certificates. The 8 members included young people and adults from varied faith backgrounds. We were told that 18-20% of the population of Singapore is Christian.
Following the worship service we enjoyed seeing the city from the Singapore Flyer, a massive ferris wheel. The city is a wealthy city with professionals working here from all over the world. Thousands of people from Malaysia cross the 2 bridges every day, coming to do the manual work that helps the city function.
Our tour has come to an end. Following our final meal together this evening, we go to the airport for our Singapore Airlines flight, arriving in JFK at noon tomorrow.
May God go with us as we travel to our homes. May God be with us till we meet again.
– Wilmer Martin