Binh Chau Missions Trip – VBS 2012

by Dennis & Mai Spencer | August 20th, 2012

BINH CHAU MISSIONS TRIP 2012

 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”    Proverbs 16:9

 Every trip we make to Binh Chau is carefully planned out as best we can, but we always seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we know God’s plans are better than ours since He knows the end from the beginning. On every trip God shows us that His hand of protection and favor is on the Binh Chau church, but on this trip He revealed His love and mercy for His children (including us) in so many glorious ways. We love sharing the amazing things God is doing in Binh Chau because they show His sovereignty. God, and God alone, has established His church in Binh Chau and shown us over and over the truth of His Word in Matthew 16:18b “and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” We are so blessed that He allows us to be a small part of it. Please rejoice with us as you read about all the wonderful, and sometimes dramatic, things He allowed us to be a witness to.

 “but honors those who fear the Lord”  Psalm 15:4b

 This year we were blessed to have a total of 11 people going to serve at our 5th annual VBS from 3 different churches; 7 from our Jesus in Vietnam Focus Team at Catalina Foothills Church here in Tucson (Dennis and Fay Peceniak, Barbara Morgan, Cherée Spencer, Brenda Spencer, Mai and Dennis Spencer), 1 from New Life Church here in Tucson (Jordan Vargo), and 3 from Foothill Family Church in Lake, Forest, California (Wendell and Tia Harris and Tia’s brother Thien). With so many going we were able to take 15 boxes (over 750 pounds) of clothing, medicine, Christmas decorations, and other needed items for the Binh Chau church.

 The group from Tucson was scheduled to leave on May 23, but God put it in Mai’s heart to leave 3 weeks before the rest us to touch bases with Caesar before the rest of us arrived in Binh Chau. Just a few days before Mai was scheduled to leave she had a terrible toothache that just would not go away. She finally agreed to go to the dentist and was told she needed a root canal, but their Northwest location had no openings. After explaining she was leaving the country in 4 more days, they checked with their eastside  location, which had an opening in 1 hour. We arrived at the office, gave our insurance info, and were told it was going to cost $760 since we were out of network. As Mai went back to have the root canal performed, I was then informed their office was in our network so our cost would only be $176. As Mai was talking to the doctor doing the root canal the subject of here trip came up. Mai told him she was going on a missions trip and shared about the church in Binh Chau. The doctor said “so you are a missionary. I’m glad you told me that as we don’t charge missionaries in this office.” Not only did God provide an immediate opening for Mai’s root canal, but He led her to a Christian doctor who didn’t charge her. The story doesn’t end here. Three weeks later Dennis, Fay Peceniak, and Cherée went to Mrs. Bigelow’s 3rd grade Sunday School class at CFC to receive a check for funds ($550 plus Darren Fielder, Children’s Ministry matched it) they had been raising to buy bicycles to be given away during the Binh Chau VBS. Additionally, Mrs. Bigelow informed them that the parents of one of her students had dropped off a check that morning in the amount of $500 (the exact amount we had been praying for to purchase 5 higher quality bikes for the Youth EE teams for their Sunday afternoon visitations). It turned out to be from the son (and his wife) of the doctor who performed the root canal on Mai. What an awesome God we serve!

 Mai arrived in Saigon on May 2 and was met at the airport by several members of the Binh Chau church. She stopped by to spend a few hours with her Mom and then it was on to Binh Chau. Each morning was started with 1-2 hours of prayer for the upcoming VBS, the neighbors living around the church, and each person that would enter the church grounds. Every pew was prayed over. These morning prayers continued for 5 weeks up to the start of VBS. Then Mai had many meetings with the Binh Chau church leadership finalizing plans for the VBS. Mai also was able to visit 2 different people from Caesar. Both visits were very sweet and Mai was encouraged to have the church continue to teach the people to live in peace. We thank God for all the favor He has continued to give us with Caesar.

 The rest of the team arrived in Saigon on May 25. Mai rented a bus as so many members of the church wanted to meet us at the airport. It was such a joyous occasion to see Mai and everyone’s smiling faces. We immediately left for Binh Chau, arriving there late in the afternoon. Many more of the church families were there to greet us. Plenty of hugs and smiles for everyone. Since we let Mai know that we left the states on Barbara’s birthday, the church gave her a surprise birthday party, including cake and ice cream. Barbara was all smiles as we all sung Happy Birthday to her. We left earlier than usual to go to the hotel to recoup from the long plane/bus ride. We praised God for the safe travel, the warm welcome, and the opportunity to see so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ again.

 Saturday (5-26) morning we were off to the church. After a breakfast of bacon and eggs (prepared by Mai) we met with the church leadership to discuss the preparations for VBS and to get our assignments on who was to pray and teach (give testimonies) for Children’s Church and Sunday Worship over the next 3 weeks. The kids started arriving early in the afternoon and we had close to 70 kids by evening. All were fed a hot meal in the kitchen before church began. That evening, Mai shared with the middle school and high school kids a teaching lesson based on Joshua 1:8. We wish all of you could experience the joy of Children’s Church as these precious children lift their voices with hands uplifted in worship to the Lord and then kneel in prayer to our Heavenly Father. It really touches your heart when these kids come forward to place their tithes in the offertory box. They don’t have much, but what they give comes from their heart. Every year we see the congregation growing in their walk with the Lord, but this past year we have really seen the youth of the church grow spiritually through the “In the Word” program and EE classes/visitations. Please continue to pray with us for God to use this next generation to spread the Gospel throughout Binh Chau and all of Vietnam.

 Sunday (5-27) Worship was another blessing as we praised God through song and prayer with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Over 90 people attended and Elder Nhan gave a very good message. Afterwards we had a sweet time of fellowship with many of the congregation. Later in the afternoon, we were able to observe Elder Nhan teaching 11 of the high school youths EE and then see them leave for home visitations. Later they returned to the church and gave their reports (as we do here at CFC).

 Monday (5-28) and Tuesday (5-29) were filled with more meetings on VBS, a trip to the marketplace in Ba To (about 20 miles away), and a trip to Tan Thang (about 30 miles away) to visit the home of Thao and his wife, Hang, and their 10 children/grandchildren. This family is so precious and faithful in attending church in Binh Chau. The children come to Children’s Church each Saturday (by motorcycle), spend the night in the kitchen, and attend Sunday Worship with their parents. They were so thankful that we would take the time to visit their home and pray for them. A weekly Bible study is held at their house and this family is willing to open their house for Sunday Worship when God raises up a church planter to go to Tan Thang. Please pray with us that God will direct us to the right man in the near future.

 God gave us a real blessing on Tuesday when He gave Barbara the opportunity to lead a lady to Christ. Barbara shared the Gospel through the EE presentation and Mai interpreted for her. Barbara then led the lady in prayer to receive Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. All were in tears as they experienced God’s love and mercy. Barbara told us it was the first time God had used her to lead someone to Christ and she was so excited and thankful. May God use her to bring many more to Christ.

 On Wednesday (5-30) Thom Ky, our brother-in-law, along with the help of Binh, Hieu, and Tung, constructed the soccer goals and attached the nets that Denny brought from the USA. We had previously broken out the gloves and balls to teach the kids to play catch. They caught on really quick and were constantly asking us to play catch with them. We thank the men from the Cactus Bob Bible study at CFC for providing the funds to purchase this equipment. The kids had a ball playing/learning baseball and football.

 Wednesday evening we attended Bible study at the church where Barbara, Tia, and Wendell sang Amazing Grace in English. Several of the kids recited some of their 100 scriptures they have to memorize by the end of the year from the “In the Word” program in order to win a decorated Christmas tree. They did a great job as some of them have already memorized up to 70 scriptures, including their addresses. Fay then gave a short testimony how the Lord had changed Denny’s life. It was another blessed day that the Lord had given us.

 Thursday (May 31) was more time playing with the kids and just showering them with the love of Jesus. That evening we attended Prayer night at the church. Mai and I sang a song in Vietnamese (mine was more of a joyful noise) and then I gave a short testimony on how important prayer is. Others sang and gave praise reports how God was working in their lives. Then we prayed for some of the needs of the congregation. We were tired when we got back late to the hotel, but God had given us another wonderful day of fellowship with His precious people in Binh Chau.

 Friday (6-1) we traveled to Suoi Bang (about 20 miles away) to visit with Mr. Ba Quang. Mr. Ba Quang had been bitten on his foot by a poisonous snake a few days before, but was home from the hospital now. Mr. Ba Quang is a believer, but his wife is not. His wife was working in the fields and we prayed that God would bring her back to their house while we were there and God would give us the opportunity to share the Gospel with her. Shortly after we arrived, Mrs. Ba Quang did come in from the fields. Mai was able to share Jesus with her, but she said she wasn’t ready to accept Him yet. However, she did say she recognized some very good changes in her husband since he became a Christian. We prayed for both of them and headed back to Binh Chau. Later, during VBS, Mrs. Ba Quang came to the Binh Chau church for the first time. The Gospel was shared with her again and she prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus!

 That evening the Focus Team split up and attended separate small group Bible studies with one group going to Elder Nhan’s house and another group going to Kim Anh’s house. Kim Anh is the daughter of the lady that Barbara led to Christ on Tuesday. It is always such a blessing to go to people’s homes and fellowship with them.

 On Saturday (6-2) we gathered all the kids in the church and gave them a small plain wreath made to fit their heads. Phuoc (Elder Nhan’s wife) explained to them how Jesus was given a crown of thorns as a mockery (Matthew 27:28-29), but it really is a symbol of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. The crown of thorns represents the pain that Jesus was willing to endure to remove and deliver us from the curse on man stated in Genesis 3:17-18. Jesus bore our sins/curses on His body that we might be forgiven of them and receive the gift of eternal life by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. The kids were then given Christmas decorations to decorate their wreaths as they wished. Afterwards, the kids judged which ones were decorated the best. The kids really enjoyed this project. Now the wreaths will be stored until Christmas. Then they will be given back to the kids to wear and to share the true meaning of the crown of thorns with their non-Christian family and friends. Please pray that through these crowns that God will give the kids many divine appointments to share the Gospel.

 That evening we had almost 80 kids at Children’s Church. Cherée, Jordan, and Brenda put on a skit for the little kids about Jonah that the kids absolutely loved. Denny talked to the middle school and high school kids about how God designed the family and church around the Trinity. Denny also talked about how the Bible tells them to love and obey God as well as their parents.

 Sunday (6-3) Worship was another great time of praising God in song and prayer with the Binh Chau congregation. Brother Hai from Saigon gave the message. He is a Seminary student in Saigon and will graduate in 3-4 months. Brother Hai feels led by God to be an evangelist/church planter in a smaller town when he graduates from seminary. Brother Hai is married and has one small son. We are seeking God’s direction whether Brother Hai might be the man God raises up to plant the house church in Tan Thang.

 After lunch Mai and Elder Nhan conducted a meeting with us and all the volunteers who would help during the VBS. We all got our assignments and Mai talked a lot about teamwork and being helpful to one another. We then practiced registering the kids for VBS so everything would run smoothly the next evening when we would register the church kids for VBS.

 We had three separate visits from Caesar during the first week we were in Binh Chau. Each visit was a different person and they were all very cordial and complimentary towards the church. They all stated it was just part of their job to stop by and remind us that it was against their law for foreigners to teach Vietnamese. Mai assured them we were there to serve and help with the VBS and not to teach. We thank God for the favor He has given is with the local Caesar and their recognition that the church is doing a lot of good for the people in encouraging them to live in peace.

 Monday (6-4) was a day of making sure everything was set for VBS to start on Tuesday. The 70 or so kids from the church arrived throughout the day and we spent a lot of time playing soccer, volleyball, and baseball. That evening we registered all the church kids for VBS so we would only have the non-believers to register on Tuesday morning. All went well and we left for the hotel that evening excited about the start of VBS the next morning.

We arrived at the church around 6 am on Tuesday (6-5) morning and the non-believers were already starting to arrive. We quickly got to our stations and started the registration process. At the end of registration we had 103 of the 137 kids who signed up for VBS actually show up. Several kids didn’t show up due to a lot of sickness in the town. However, we had 30 kids show up that morning who had not previously signed up. Of course, we took them all in. So the final number of children attending was 133. This was about 11 more than last year and our largest group yet. Praise God for another answered prayer as we had been praying for a few weeks that 130 kids would attend. God is so good!

 I (Dennis) opened with prayer and then all the kids had a time of Worship. Then the kids were divided into 4 groups; one for all the non-believers taught by Elder Nhan and 3 groups for believers according to age with Elder Tu and several young people from Saigon teaching these kids. We separated the non-believers this year into one group so Elder Nhan could focus solely on explaining creation to them, the fall of man that separated us from Him, and then share the Gospel through the EE presentation in hope that God would give them a clear understanding of who He is and how much He loves them. The teaching by Elder Nhan, Elder Tu, and these young people from Saigon was definitely led by the Holy Spirit. One of the young men who taught the high school level was fantastic. He was teaching one lesson when it came time for a break. The class actually said they didn’t want a break as they wanted to hear the rest of the lesson (David and Goliath). Not only was the teaching good, but the students really absorbed God’s Word as many of them demonstrated through memorization of the Bible verses given to them

 Each student was given from 1 to 3 Bible verses to memorize during the first 2 days of VBS. Each student had different verses and some were quite long. If their name was drawn the afternoon of the second day, they would have to recite these verses from memory in order to be rewarded with a bike.

 Along with the focus on God’s Word and the Gospel, there was plenty of time for crafts, games, and sweet times of worship and fellowship. The kids were well behaved, except for 2 boys who had to be disciplined and sent home. It broke our hearts to have to do it, but they understood why. They both said they would return next year and be on their best behavior. The only other negative was the fact many of the kids were fighting off a cold/virus that was going around.

 A lady in the church has 3 sons here at VBS. Her oldest son, Hoang, is around 18. She had shared with Mai that he was always very angry and rebellious. Mai went up to Hoang and asked him his name, Hoang told his younger brother to tell Mai his name as he doesn’t give anyone his name. Mai called me over and we both prayed for Hoang that God would free him from what his mother called a demon possession. The Holy Spirit was at work as Hoang immediately calmed down. He began to smile and open up to us. Mai then took him aside and shared the Gospel with him. Praise God as Hoang prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Hoang then went home to change his clothes and returned to VBS. Since then, he attended every class, interacted with the other kids, and was very peaceful. God has given us favor in all situations and we felt covered by all your prayers. Please lift this young man up in your prayers that God will continue to strengthen him and draw him closer to Him.

 On the afternoon of the second day the names of the kids were drawn for the bicycles. It was an exciting time as the names were drawn and kids came forward to recite their verses. They were allowed to make only 2 errors total. Some were unsuccessful, but the majority knew their verses, and was so thrilled to be rewarded with a bike. Many were in tears for the blessing God had given them. And, according to God’s providence, many of the kids getting a bike were really in need of one. Thanks to the generous gift from Mrs. Bigelow’s 3rd grade class, Darren Fielder’s Children’s Ministry, and others who contributed towards the bikes, we were able to give away a total of 29 bikes. Plus, we were able to purchase 5 higher quality bikes for the church to be used by the Youth EE Teams for their Sunday afternoon visitations.

 After this the kids were treated to a puppet show from a group from Saigon. God has given these talented youth a ministry to travel to different churches to put on these shows centered around stories from the Bible. Tonight was the story of David and Goliath. They did a great job and the kids really loved it 

Then, as always, the most exciting time and the reason we return every year, occurred that evening when Elder Nhan gave the Gospel again, followed by an altar call. We praised God as 33 kids stepped forward and prayed to ask Jesus into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior. What a joyous blessing to see God give them understanding and draw these precious souls into His kingdom. We thank God that He allows us (you/us) to be His instruments to deliver His gift of eternal life to these precious children. Over the next few weeks, the church will visit each of these parents in hopes of also sharing the Gospel with them, or at least, getting their kids connected to the church through attending Children’s Church on Saturday nights.

 On the morning of the third day we arrived at the church at 3:30 am to take the kids to the amusement park in Saigon. Some of the kids who were sick were not able to go, but we ended up taking 4 buses with 123 kids and around 40 adults to Saigon. The owners of the amusement park increased the price first quoted to us earlier in the year and we were short of finds, but in another answer to prayer, God raised up someone to provide the additional funds. We give God all the glory! We had a great time at the park. The only drawback was that most of the kids are not used to traveling such a long distance in buses and many got sick and started throwing up. We had plenty of plastic bags on the buses to take care of those who were sick. The ride back to Binh Chau was a little better as some of the kids were given motion sickness medication. We stopped for dinner about half way back to Binh Chau and arrived back at the church around 7:30 pm.

 VBS is 3 long days, but they go by so fast when you see the joy on all of these kids’ faces and you always have a child or two, or three, who need a hug and the love of Jesus shown to them. We are so thankful to each of you who have faithfully prayed and financially supported God’s work here in Binh Chau. We are witnesses to His mighty answer to all our prayers and He is using each of you to make an impact on these children for all eternity. Only a few of us are able to go to the field to hug and love on these children, but all of you will someday see fully the impact God has used you to make on so many all for His glory.

 Even though God has given us favor with Caesar, there is still persecution towards the church from some of the neighbors around the church and some of the men who gather to drink in the 2 coffee shops by the church. We would like to share with you 3 separate incidents that happened that truly shows God’s hand of protection is on His church HE established in Binh Chau.

 The first night of VBS after we had all returned to the hotel, a few men were drinking across the street from the church. One man, who has given the church a hard time in the past, actually entered the church grounds somehow. He had had a little too much to drink and started to threaten Kim and her son, Vu, when they approached him. The police were called, but they don’t respond unless someone is seriously injured. After some more threats the man finally left the church property. We did not find out about this until we arrived at the church the next morning. Later in the morning the same man who had threatened Kim and Vu the night before shows up at the church. Kim and Vu were trying to get him to leave, but he insisted on talking to Mai. Mai took him into the kitchen and called me over. The man wanted to apologize for his actions the night before and asked us not to be mad at him. We prayed for the man and then Mai shared the Gospel with him. The man prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. We gave him something to eat and even gave him a VBS t-shirt. Later he left and hasn’t given the church any trouble since. Only God, working in this man’s heart, could have sent this man to the church after his violent nature the night before. We praise God for His love and mercy for this man and the church in Binh Chau.

 After we had returned to the hotel on the second day of VBS a man tried to burn the VBS sign we had posted in front of the church. Kim’s son, Vu, was on guard and asked the man what he was doing. The man then ran back across the street and later proudly proclaimed he had tried to burn the sign. Normally while in Binh Chau we ride around on the back of motorcycles driven by people in the church. However, since we had such a large group this time, we rented a van to take us to different places. The next day after the attempted sign burning happened the van arrives. By God’s divine direction, the van driver is the man who tried to burn the sign down the night before. The owner of the van was unable to work that evening and called this young man to drive for us. This isn’t his regular job as he was not very good at shifting a 4 speed.  God quickly put it in Mai’s heart to have Elder Nhan sit with this man in the van as we went to visit some homes for members of the church. Not only was Elder Nhan able to share the Gospel with him that evening, a couple of days later, he was our driver again, and Tia was able to talk to him about Jesus. The man did not pray to receive Christ, but he was very attentive. The seed has been planted. Please pray that god will open this man’s eyes and heart to know fully of His love and mercy for him.

 The third story involves one of the neighbors who showed up on his motorcycle very angry accusing one of us of entering his land and taking pictures. He was very mad and threatening. Mai was in the kitchen, heard the noise, and started towards the front of the church to see what was going on. Mai was told to stay in the back because this man was very angry. God gave Mai His peace, reminding her that if she approached the situation with a humble heart and spoke with sweetness and kindness in her voice, she would have nothing to fear. As Mai walked up to the man, she asked him what had happened. After hearing his concerns, Mai touched his arm and assured him that no one in our group had been on his property, but she would investigate and let him know if she found out otherwise. The man calmed down, said ok, and quietly left.

 We thank God that He has shown us time after time the truth of His Word in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” The Binh Chau church exists today because of God’s grace and we are quick to give Him all the glory.

 On Friday (June 8), the day after VBS ended, Mai received a call from her sister, Hiep, who takes care of their mother in Saigon. Hiep informed Mai that their mother had suffered a second stroke. She had a stroke about 5 years ago and has been bed-ridden ever since. The decision was made to keep their mother at home under Hiep’s continuing care as Hiep is a doctor and could provide the medical help Mom needed. Mom’s condition was stable and we would see her on Tuesday when we would return to Saigon in preparation for our trip back to the US.

 On Saturday (June 9) we had another wonderful Children’s Church with a record 107 kids attending as most of the kids who accepted Christ in VBS came. What a blessing to see the joy and happiness on each of these precious children’s faces as they play together, eat a hot meal together, and then all worship the Lord together. We were reminded that many of these happy and joyful faces live a much different life during the week. Many come from broken homes with abusive fathers. Others are left alone (while their parents work during the day) to take care of themselves or wander the streets. Some of these children left alone are as young as 4 or 5 years old. We hear of children that have no food to eat and end up at the market trying to take food when the vendor turns their back. Others roam the streets and are swayed by their non-Christian friends, which leads to trouble. And, these are kids from the church! Many non-Christian kids are in the same sad situations. Only the love of Christ can break this cycle.

 God has instilled in us a vision that will allow us to continue to be used as His tools to help break this cycle. He has blessed us with His church where these kids can come and experience the love of Jesus. God has also blessed us with a beautiful kitchen where hot meals can be prepared for the kids. God has blessed us with enough land for these kids to run around and play soccer, volleyball, and now baseball in.

 The vision God has given us is to establish an orphanage on the church property to reach out to these children in meeting their physical and spiritual needs. We have petitioned Caesar to build 2 more buildings to be used as classrooms for now and dorms for the orphanage in the future.

 Please join us in prayer that our Heavenly Father will open the door for this vision to be fulfilled so this current cycle can be broken and He will use this orphanage to change many lives all for His glory.

 Early (5:15 am) Sunday morning (June 10) Mai received a phone call from Hiep stating Mom had taken a turn for the worse and we needed to come to Saigon immediately. Mai, Cherée, Brenda, Jordan, and I arrived in Saigon around 9:30 am after close to a 4 hour ride from Binh Chau. We found Mom to be very tired, laboring to breathe despite on oxygen, but alert to her surroundings. She knew who people were and could respond to our questions.

 Mai prayed with her and asked her if she still knew the story of the 10 virgins (which Mai had shared with her years earlier and was one of Mom’s favorite Bible stories). Mom said she remembered and Mai asked her to tell the story. Mom said  “there were 5 wise virgins ready and 5 foolish virgins with no oil for their lamps. Jesus came and the 5 wise virgins went inside to be with Jesus and I am there too and the door was shut.” Mom also stated that Jesus was the Son of God.

 Brenda, our oldest daughter, got to meet her Grandmother for the first time and pray with her. Mom asked Brenda to bend over so she could give her a kiss. All of Mom’s children were there, except her youngest son who was out of town working. Plus, several grandchildren and great grandchildren were there. We all got to pray with Mom and embrace here in our arms. About 4 hours later, the Lord took Mom home.

 There was a physical sadness, but it was very much overshadowed by such a peace and joy of knowing Mom was free of pain and in the arms of her loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

 We left immediately to return to Binh Chau to make preparations for Mom’s funeral. In Vietnam bodies are not embalmed so the funeral takes place very quickly. Mom wanted to be buried where she grew up in the town of Binh Chau and we had purchased a burial plot years earlier. In Vietnam funerals are held at a relative’s house and they go on day and night, sometimes for three days. The services would be held in front of Hiep’s house next door to the church in Binh Chau.

 On the way back from Saigon we stopped in Ba To to order flowers, which were delivered about 2 hours later. A company came over and constructed a canopy in front of Hiep’s house. Tables and chairs were set up as Mom’s casket would be arriving around 8 pm that night and a series of services would be held, starting at 9 pm that same evening. Another service would be held at 9 am the next morning, the funeral held at 2 pm, and then the last service at the gravesite around 3 pm.

 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. “   Psalm 23:5

 As we prepared for the services we all marveled at God’s grace extended to us in His taking Mom home in His perfect timing. First, we were able to talk and pray with Mom while she was still very much alert. Second, we were in Vietnam. We would never have been able to get to Vietnam in time for Mom’s funeral if we had been in the US. Third, even in Mom’s passing, God would use her funeral for over 200 hundred people to hear the Gospel preached several times.

  You see in Vietnam you are not allowed to evangelize openly. When Mai first arrived in Binh Chau several weeks earlier, Elder Nhan and Elder Tu stated the sound system in the Binh Chau church was shot and they needed a new system. Mai went to Saigon to see about purchasing a new system. Elder Nhan and Elder Tu wanted the system to include 2 portable speakers that they could use outside the church building. Mai didn’t see the need for them, but ended up purchasing a new sound system with 2 portable speakers.  We were able to take those 2 portable speakers over to Hiep’s house next to the church where Mom’s funeral was to be held. All 4 services were broadcast over those 2 portable speakers to all who attended the funeral, plus to all the surrounding neighbors. God is definitely at work guiding our steps long before He reveals His plans in our lives. What a blessing to see Him turn Mom’s homecoming into several Evangelistic Outreaches for so many non-believers to hear of His love and mercy for them. Mai was even able to share the Gospel with 2 monks. They did not pray to receive Christ, but we were able to give them both Bibles, which they promised to read. May God bring both of them to the foot of the cross.

 Mai was also able to share the Gospel with 2 cousins who came from Long Hai to attend Mom’s funeral. Both prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They were scared that Caesar might find out they were now Christians as Long Hai (which is a much larger town than Binh Chau about 50 miles away) has no Christian church there due to persecution from Caesar. The Binh Chau leadership is going to try to locate a church in a closer town to meet with these 2 ladies. This only reinforces to us how God’s protection and grace has been on the Binh Chau church for it, not only to exist today, but to be flourishing in bringing the Gospel to so many. Thank you Jesus!

 It was such an exciting trip and our entire team was so blessed for the endless opportunities God gave us to show the love of Christ to all those we met. Tia and Wendell have a heart to help the women in the church provide for their families by teaching them some job skills through sewing opportunities, producing coconut oil, or selling food from a food cart. Please pray that God will open the door for this to happen in the near future. Dennis and Fay have such a passion for all the kids and were able to share pictures/stories to the kids about their sponsors back here in the states and make many memories with these precious kids to share with their sponsors upon their return to the US. Barbara’s excitement and enthusiasm was contagious and God blessed her to bring a precious soul into His kingdom.  Cherée, Jordan, and Brenda spent countless hours with the kids showing the love of Jesus. God gave us all opportunities to be witnesses to how He has worked in our lives for His glory. And finally, but most important, He gave us the privilege of helping bring 33 children and 10 adults into His kingdom.

 We have some kids in the church who do not know how to read and write, not having the opportunity to go to school when they were younger. We have started a class (taught by some of the teen age youth leaders) to help teach these kids how to read and write. Please pray that God will give these kids a desire to study to improve their skills and be able to read and understand His Word. We would also like to find a teacher to teach the kids in church how to speak English as this would increase their chances greatly of getting a better job when they graduate from high school or college.

 We thank God for the many answered prayers we witnessed on this trip and we thank you for your faithfulness in lifting us up before the Father’s throne. We felt covered by your prayers as if you were there with us. The church is growing in numbers, but more importantly, God’s precious children are growing spiritually in their walk with him. Take joy in knowing that God is using you to make a difference in so many lives for all eternity.

 As Dennis Peceniak stated in his prayer just before we got on the bus to leave Binh Chau for Saigon, “We can hardly wait to return next year.” To that we say AMEN!

Love,

 Dennis and Mai

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Jesus in Vietnam Ministries, is a compassion ministry founded by Dennis and Mai Spencer. Vietnamese families suffer from deprivation, lacking sometimes even the necessities of life. In obedience to the many Scriptural commands to help the poor they are enabling families to survive in difficult circumstances. When shown mercy these families are very receptive to the Gospel. The Spencer’s also focus on children, who are the future church of Jesus Christ in Vietnam. Watch The Video About Jesus In Vietnam Ministries Here

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