Article by Madeline Vu

Midway into the July 2014 EMAS mission to Vietnam I remember getting on a bus full of exhausted volunteers for an hour ride back to where we were staying that night. I sat next to a window, looking out into the fields and roads of Vietnam. There were no skyscraper buildings, no malls, no Starbucks, nothing but land and the people tending to it. The skies were clear with the sun setting in the background. The grass was green, fields of rice paddies lined the road as we drove by.

I could feel the worries of society falling away and I was finally able to listen to my own thoughts. I could think about things once again without having to analyze them so closely. Simple things like a field of grass, kids playing soccer in the dirt, old women tending to the crops they worked so hard to grow were all somehow inspiring. It made me feel sad that I had lost myself in the middle of a busy life. I was not able to think for myself or hear what I desired in life. It had been muffled by the requirements of what society claimed. Having the chance to hear myself think brought back a sense of deep serenity. I felt like I was back to myself, no longer numb but touched by every person I met and everything that I did.

This mission trip has taught me that there are people all over the world that live their lives to the fullest in the midst of hardship, ease, pain, joy, suffering, comfort, love, hate, richness, poverty – anything that the world hands to them. As the Scriptures say, God has given us everything that we need and it is up to us to accept what we have been given.

And when the time is right, we will fully understand what it is that we are meant to do in this world. Matthew 13:23 “But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”