an old article...
The church bell rang (the alarm bell was set as the church bell sound). I got up but my mind was still confused. We would have priest Thong come to Minnesota and talk about human trafficking which sends Vietnamese children into sex slavery in Cambodia.
When I came into the bathroom, Ai Huu was making up, getting ready for the Mass in the morning.
Both of us came into Church of St. Alphonsus for the Mass on 7:00 A.M. We stood on our knees and prayed. I wondered what Ai Huu was talking to God and Mother Mary. I was thinking of Priest Thong's talk in the evening, wondering if it would be successful. Only 169 tickets were sold. Worrying, I tried to concentrate to pray. I talked to Mother Mary and God, begged them to help us celebrate a successful event. I didn't forget to pray with the Holy Spirit to be with us in our work for the best results.
Priest Pham Tuyen, priest from Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, celebrated the Mass this morning. When walking behind our backs, he stopped, shook our hands and wished us all the best. As I thanked him, my soul became full of gladness. I thought God and Mother Mary had heard my prayer then they sent Priest Tuyen to us to wish us luck.
Getting home, I got the pack pack and said to Ai Huu: "It's gonna be a busy day. See you at Sea Flower!". On the way of highway 610 East, I called Bao and got to know he had picked up priest Thong. It was 8:35 A.M. when I was coming back to the Church. At that time, only breakfast food of American shop could be brought.
Seeing Bao's car parked in front of the Pastor's House, I turned left to go to the kitchen, seeing priest Thong, Bao and Lieu chatting. I greeted priest Thong and we had breakfast together. Mr. Cong Binh, the secretary general of the parish, came and joined us in our story at the beginning of a very busy day.
Priest Thong seemed tired because of the stents inside his body. I could see his courage, faith and great love deep in his eyes.
Priest Thong got out of the Pastor's House and walked quickly to the Church. Lieu said to him in a surprised voice: "Where are you going? It's still early." Then he said: "What do you mean saying "early"? It's time". Lieu laughed then the three of us joined her. "Oh, Father. Your watch points the time of Atlanta which is one hour earlier than time at Minnesota. We are in Minnesota". He smiled then came back to the Pastor's House and talked about the next coming events.
I walked with him to the Church and met parish's priest at phong ao. They seemed like BFF (Best Friend Forever). Happiness could be seen on their faces when they met each other and talked a lot. Priest Thong's lecture was meaningful. It was burning a warm candle in everyone's soul and guiding us. It was like a spring running to every corner of our souls, waking up our emotions as our hearts were beating.
Priest Thong went to the Church's trench where Vietnamese Doctrine Class were very busy and noisy. They were ready for the Mass. Priest Thong read the Bible. His lecture had lots of fun with many questions about the Bible. It was such an interesting and surprising activity. A kid answered all the questions rightly and got a gift of 20,00 USD.
I was talking with Mr. Hoang (the care taker) at the doorway of the Church. I panicked when I looked at the Cung thánh and didn't see priest Thong. Where is he? Why isn't he there with the junior priest (Cha phó)? I asked Mr. Hoa who was the director of department of liturgy (Ban Phụng Vụ). He told me priest Thong had gone out. I knew what was happening. I ran out and looked around but didn't see him. I ran on the way to the Pastor's House (this is also the office room of the parish) but still did not see him. I began to be very worried and wondered what was going on with him. Where is he now? If anything had have happened to him, I would have taken responsibility for that. That was my work, my responsibility that we had been pointed in our last meeting. But then I met Quang. How lucky I was. He told me priest Thong had been taken to the bedroom used for guests only because he seemed very tired and was about to fall. I opened the living room's door and saw Mother Mary's Heart (Mẫu Tâm) choir practicing. The next door led me to where priest Thong was resting. He was on the bed and seemed very tired. Perhaps he had moved a lot during his lecture then blood in urination way got out more than often. The stents in his body rubbed together and made more hurts... He opened his eyes and looked at me... After letting him take two medicines (the medicines were described by the doctor and priest Thong always takes along with him in his bag), I did the radionics, acupressure and connection between the electrical current on his face (of course, he had agreed for me to do that). Then he fell asleep in just a minute. He breathed softly. His face seemed to be fine and the fever improved. I was very glad that the methods I used turned out to be good. I thought that had helped him like lots of medicines.
Phuong Dao called me. Phuong was the earliest one to be at the Sea Flower restaurant to put seats in order, prepare poster and get everything ready for the event awareness dinner of priest Thong.
All of us gathered at the Sea Flower restaurant. Priest Thong talked to us about important things. T-shirts, polo shirt, wristband, CD were set up in good order on the tables, ready for welcoming the guests coming here. There were lots of people with big hearts there with us like some Confraternity of Christian Doctrines, leader Van, leader Tho, leader Hung, Ai Huu, Hana, Phuong, etc., especially leader Phong, Nhat who were with us from the beginning to that day's event. Ha Dung's family had done like the lyric "when we are serving others and putting their dreams upon ours, we are meeting ourselves". They had helped us in both material and spiritual fields and made a great happiness among us. How I love this little Ca Mau in Minnesota!
Priest Thong looked like he had felt better, funny and had more power. I could see faith when looking at him. Before the party began, he told us: "Thank you all so much for helping me with all of your soul. We have done our best. Now, we give the rest to God. Let him do the rest for us."
The event was supposed to begin at 6:00 P.M. But because people were just coming and coming and bought tickets at the doorway, the event had to be delayed until 6:30 P.M.
His voice was up and down, sometime with funny jokes that made everyone forgot their present problems to be stuck in his stories about misery of other people. I could see the teardrops on their cheeks, their red emotional eyes that could not keep their tears from falling down. And it was him, yes, even him, who also cried when talking about himself and the coffin, the death of Swan and HIV/AIDS. He was crying while he was standing there on the stage.
The event was more successful than we had expected. This was a supportive present to us who were living here at a boring far-way land like Twin City. This encourages us for our next events.
Thank you all, the old and the young, for helping us. Thanks for supporting us silently, praying for us, for priest Thong and for those who are suffering great misery from child sex abuse.
Priest Thong and the Group Leaders were taken to the common room. He rest there and talked about his thoughts on plans he had been doing. It was a long way to minimize others' sufferings and maximize love that comes from God.
Priest Thong and the Group Leaders said goodbye to us for coming to visit Ha Dung's family.
Our house became silent again as it is. There are none of happy voice and laughter of priest Thong and the Group Leaders. I sat there silently in night, thinking of what I had seen and heard. Those are sufferings of my people. Those are misery of lives. But those sufferings have not stopped yet. They are still coming to every corner of our lives. They are hurting our innocent children. That is the greatest misery to our children, our people and ourselves. What can we do to rescue them?
Lots of emotional waves filled my soul. I found myself as a mad man, saying like priest Thong: "I am mad guy. Only mad ones decide to do such these things".
Being there silently in night, I cried with myself...
One Body Village of Minnesota.
Translated by Le Nhat Lam. Click here for the original article in Vietnamese version
an old article...
Pharmacist, MC, Singer – three works combine in one girl named Huyen Ny – a talented, beautiful Vietnamese girl. She is a representative for successful Vietnamese women living overseas.
When attending the fundraising event held by One Body Village at Seattle, she decided to be a voice for OBV's children, those who are the victims of child sex exploitation and traffickingin order to make OBV more well-known.
Let us share with you Huyen Ny's thoughts:
The program began just before sunset
The "Trả Em Tuổi Thơ" gala in Melbourne in the presence of 750 participants from the Vietnamese community. The large turnout was the result of the Vietnamese patriots in Melbourne to lend OBV a hand to help children who are victims of sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia - especially Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Singapore.
This is the largest fundraising event to date that even the event organizers were also surprised and touched.
(OBV - Ms Anne Doan and the two men who organized the fundraising for OBV in Brisbane, Australia are Buddhist! Thanks God and Thanks the three of you)
1 am ... 11/16/14 after finishing the evening fundraising for OneBodyVillage, we returned home and listened to Father Nguyen Ba Thong shared about the OBV children's lives. Although everyone was very tired due to lack of sleep and meal for the past few days busy running the fundraising... But everyone tried to fight off the urge to fall asleep and kept listening to the tragic stories of the unfortunate OBV children ....
With bags in on both shoulders, bags in both hands, walking barefoot in the streets....he looked like a begger.
During an evening trip on January 12th 2010, I encountered a lady – originally from Phan Rang – who left for Saigon in hopes of finding a job. She asked me for some clothes for her child to have for Tết (the Lunar New Year). I happy agreed and promised her that I would deliver the clothes to her on the evening of January 14th.
After departing ways, I felt a sort of happiness and silliness in me. A smile was on my face when I arrived home. "I haven't experienced a day as beautiful as that day..."
That's right, I haven't experienced a day as beautiful as thay day. I had yet to experience or take part in any tasks that are meaningful or fun and exciting....until that day. I kept smiling and laughing like a crazy person.
Yesterday was my last day with OBV. On my journey, I met people with big hearts, bright minds, and unique talents who have changed the lives of entire communities. I believe that crimes against children are the most heinous and that poverty, corruption, greed, and complacency are to blame. Shame on the men and women who exploit children, sell children, buy children, and commit unspeakable acts against children. The most frightening thing I learned this trip was the extreme ease of purchasing children. The realisation of how disposable they are haunts me everyday. I want to solve the problem but there has yet to be a solution. That's not to say that all hope is lost. If you could see the children we saved, their spirits, their smiles, and the unforgettable twinkle in their eyes, you would agree that this fight is worth it. Even one life is worth it. (Angela Nguyen)
Our mission group spent the morning assisting Cha Thanh to distribute rice and warm jackets to 2 rural schools in Lao Cai today. Their families are extremely poor. Their education is supported by Cha Thanh's parish. Amazing! (Angela)
I left Malaysia with mixed emotions, but mostly of sadness and sorrow. I'm overwhelmed by the tragedy that these women and children have suffered through and feel even more anguish to think of the uncertainty of time that they now face to return home. Where there is evil, there are good people like our OBV agent named T. who goes beyond her call of duty to help not only our children, but all of the trafficking victims that she encounters. She translates for them, advocates for them, cooks for them, visits them in hospital, and she even buries them when these women and children just can't fight any longer. She's a true champion and my inspiration.
I visited a trafficking victim at a local hospital today in Kuala Lumpur. She was 29 years old and she was lured to Malaysia from Vietnam with promise of good work. She was previously trafficked to Russia in 2012, but because she needed to provide for her parents and 2 young children, she accepted the risk. For 2 years she served men. She's been beaten and battered. At times she would be locked in a room for 30 men to rape her throughout the day. 4 months ago, she collapsed. She was in a coma for a week and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Today, she was all but skin and bones and weighed a mere 33 kg. Though she didn't fully understand her condition, she was eager and hopeful to return to Vietnam to be with her family when she recovered. From her, I learned what loneliness and suffering truly is and the value of hope. The sparkle in her eye when we offered her good company, no matter how short of a time, will remain with me.
Sometimes I forget "human trafficking" doesn't just mean minors who are being moved around the world for sexual purposes.
The human trafficking industry is a $150 billion dollar industry and covers sex worker, domestic workers, laborers and (probably most horrifying) the harvesting of organs.
Yesterday we met 2 babies. I could physically feel my heart break at the thought of these two babies (a 4 month old boy, an 18-month old girl) being born solely for the purpose of having their organs taken. In fact, the baby boy had already been "booked" for his organs while his mother (a 17 year old survivor of sex trafficking) was pregnant with him. Many of us held back tears as we struggled to understand what these kids had gone through...what would cause a person to be ok with doing this to anyone else, let alone a child.
Today we met a group of women, survivors of trafficking (both sexual and domestic workers). Most were from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. All were rescued from their deplorable 'work' environments, and are waiting for the right paperwork to go through to go home.
With the upcoming Lunar New Year, we thought lighting fire crackers and making paper lanterns would be fun for them, however this only reminded them of home, and a few of the survivors broke down in tears.
One Body Village is extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with NGO Suka, who have taught us that trafficking is a deep issue that affects the whole world, with a lot of it happening underneath our noses.
As I finish up this mission, I can only hope that we as humans can step up together to put a stop to the abuse of children, the trafficking of our fellow humans, and prove humanity is better than this.
Terima kasih Suka, sampai jumpa lagi
Today, we visited the women's protective shelter again to cook Pho for lunch. The Vietnamese women were so delighted, because they haven't tasted familiar flavours in months! While the others cooked, I gave an informal education session about hygiene and basic first aid. I knew it was successful because the women gave me all of their attention and kept asking questions. They were so grateful that I answered concerns about their health and I that discussed what was normal, what they should keep an eye on, and what needed medical attention. I wish I could do this everyday! Today, the women seemed more relaxed, at ease, and lowered their guard. They are beyond jaded because they have been deceived and abused. I am so happy that in a short two days, we have developed friendship and trust. I hope that they will make it home to their families soon. Thank you to organisations like Suka who support these women on a daily basis.
We visited one of four shelters for human trafficking survivors in Malaysia who are older than 18 (or claim to be). Of the 42 women, 23 were Vietnamese survivors of sex trafficking. Others were from India, Thailand, and China who also survived sex trafficking, as well as labour trafficking and abusive domestic servitude. We brought firecrackers and lanterns to celebrate Lunar New Year, but it only reminded the women of their homeland. They cried inconsolably as they missed their families. The women came from all walks of life with different circumstances that led them down a dark and torturous path. Along the way, they met monsters who held them captive, abused them, forced and coerced them to work and serve men in deplorable conditions. Now they wait in this protective shelter for trial and for freedom. They yearn to be reunited with their families. It's a long waiting game.
Shopping tourism has, and probably always will be, a thing. From jade markets in Beijing, coconut farms in Nha Trang, or even Woodbury Commons in NYC, it's possible for you to jump on a bus (or car or any other method of transportation such as tuk tuk), and you will dropped off to your location of desire.
Imagine then, if you enter a country where pedophile tourism is a thing. It is an ACTUALLY A THING.
You can go to these countries and a tuk tuk driver will actually deliver you to a place where you can buy a child for a night. On this trip we witnessed tuk tuk drivers actually approaching anyone who (unfortunately ) fits the profile of a pedophile and ask "you like young girl? I have! 14 year, have!! 12 year, have!"
A child of any age you want for $80 frickin bucks. A NIGHT.
It disgusts me to my very core to even imagine that some fat, hairy, sweaty, old, perverted punk of a human being is okay with doing this to a child.
From Jaxi Lin - a mission trip follower!