The Deaf In Vietnam . . . Unreached Lives

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Dear Friends,

While we know that many of you are experiencing late cold spells and wintry weather this is the most beautiful time to be
in Vietnam.  The rainy season has ended although we still get occasional rain.  The hot summer is still two to three months away
so it is very pleasant in the morning and evening and only a little hot during the day.  We use the fans day and night but mainly
just to circulate the air and keep the mosquitoes away as the temperature is really nice. 

Bob went to Cambodia and Laos for a week trip a couple weeks ago to see water well projects.  CBN/Operation Blessing
invited him on the trip to see their water well projects in those countries.  We plan to do water well projects with them in Vietnam
as there is a lot of need for clean, accessible water in many areas but especially in the highlands and other areas working with
some tribal people.  

A group of visiting youth with YWAM offered to volunteer a day at Bread of Life and do some needed painting for us. 
The eight team members were from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the Philippines. They painted the stair
well up to the fourth floor.  On the first floor is the Bread of Life second floor is the Upper Room where we have international
church, third floor is living space for our volunteers from Australia.  And on the fourth floor has a small room for the small
washing machine and generator for Bread of Life (for when the electricity goes out) and the rest of the roof is just flat space. 
So for these kids to paint this high area was no small chore.  For their hard work we were planning to feed the kids lunch. 

I did the menu planning with the deaf staff in sign language. Then to reinforce what we had talked about I wrote it down
in Vietnamese on the white board:

1. Potato soup

2. Small hamburgers

3. Green salad

     When the team took a break for lunch the deaf staff had everything ready. The table looked nice.  It was all set up with silver ware,
napkins, salad dressing, condiments, etc. like I had taught them. They also already had on the table a small bowl of potato soup for
each team member, a small bowl to put salad in for each person, 3 bowls of salad, and two small hamburgers.  Now these are really
small hamburgers, some people in the States would call them sliders.  The hamburgers are half the size of the normal hamburgers. 
This suits Vietnamese customers as they don't want as much meat as a regular hamburger has.  But here on the two long tables pushed
together were 2 small hamburgers. They looked so odd, those two little tiny hamburgers and so many people.  I headed for the kitchen to
if the rest were on their way.  No, no more. I asked deaf Tam, age 20, our head cook.  And she signed that I had told them 2 hamburgers.
I signed back no that we needed 8 as the group consisted of 8 people. She showed me the white board where I had written: 1. Potato soup,
2. Small hamburgers, 3. Green salad.  And that is exactly what they did 1 pot of potato soup, 2 small hamburgers and 3 green salads.  She
also thought it was odd to give two small hamburgers to so many. We all had a very good laugh at the missed communication.

We have been feeling for some time that Alex, our 15 year old son, needs to go to an international school. Alex, has attended
Vietnamese school since first grade. He currently attends ninth grade at Nguyen Hue Jr. High school in Danang. High School in Vietnam is
grades 10,11,and 12.  This is the best time for him to change systems as it is when he would change schools anyway to start high school. 
Since his entire academic experience has been based in the Vietnamese school system we feel it is essential for Alex to attend an
international high school in order to properly prepare him for University in the U.S.  Alex has a great insight into the Vietnamese culture and
his experience and perspective is indeed unique.  He was the only Westerner attending school in Danang Province and in fact he was the
only Western child in Danang. Even though we think it has been a healthy challenge for him, we feel strongly that he needs to get an
International High School Education so that he can better understand his own culture, learn to study in English and gain the critical thinking
skills taught in an American based high school curriculum thus preparing him for University in the U.S. and the future.

We made application at Saigon South International School.  Alex took the train (by himself) down to Saigon on Tuesday of
last week (a 16 hr. train ride),  he tested at Saigon for the entrance exam to Saigon South International School  (it has an American
curriculum)  and then he jumped back the train last night at 11 p.m. He arrived back in Da Nang the following afternoon. There were
40 places in grade 10 for next year, 39 were already filled leaving only one.  There were other students wanting in, but they chose
Alex, PTL.  It is a really terrific school, we are blessed, now it is up to God to provide the finances.  We have also heard of another
possible school opportunity.  Friends of ours are sending us information of a Christian school in southern Oregon that gives good
scholarships to Missionary kids.  This would be a boarding school which would solve the problem of where Alex would stay.  In
Saigon we would have to find a Vietnamese family for him to live with or Bob would stay with him but the expense of maintaining
two households would be very difficult.  We do not know which is best.  We need your prayers on this.  We do feel strongly though
that we need to do our very best for Alex, he is such an important part of this ministry and God has a special call on his life.  If we
can get the scholarships at each school that we need, we would still need to come up with more than $6000.00 per year for the
next three years to do this.

We are in need of volunteers if you know of anyone interested. Jacob returns home this summer to attend Bible College. 
The retired Australian couple goes home the end of March. Then we have a man from Oregon coming in for the summer and if
Bob and I are to go home this summer we will be needing volunteer/s at that time. The man coming in, Derek, has 11 years of
restaurant experience.  He cooks and bakes bread well. He should be a huge asset.  The plan is for him to come mid-May thru
August. The second volunteer would act as support person doing whatever is necessary to keep things going well for the other
shift.

 

We love and appreciate you all,

Kathleen, Bob, Alex and Jacob

Note: Kathleen's  email address: kathleenvn@pobox.com
Bob can still be reached at: pic@pobox.com
The coffee house/bakery  address : breadoflife@pobox.com

The deaf in Vietnam are mostly overlooked. They are pitied as unfortunate burdens to society. They have little opportunity to receive education. NONE get
beyond grade five. Eighty percent of the deaf never go to school. Therefore, they are condemned to meager lonely existence without communication, even with
their families. Most do not know that sign language even exist. Many of the young people who come to us for help have gone from being a burden to their families
to where they have become the largest no burden and contributors to their families. Your donation allows us to continue to help some of the most needy and marginalized people the world. We are making a difference in lives of the deaf and many others that God gives us opportunities to serve. Your giving makes a
world of difference! Make Checks Payable Partners In Compassion Mail to P. O. Box 55, Demopolis, AL 36732 or below is secured link for credit cards!