Thursday, December 09, 2004

Lauren, we don't want you to leave

Our team first down moment happened today at the meeting when Lauren told the team that she might not be able to come along. Almost in tears, Lauren said that the idea of her going to Vietnam really upsets her parents and she has decided to withdraw from the team because she does not want to go against her parents' wishes. We all feel very sad for her. Lauren really wants to go, and she reiterated it so many times. Lauren parents's main concern is her safety, which is completely understandable. We all understand that parents are very protective and the idea of sending a daughter to a place half a globe away is really terrifying. It is very frustrating when you are in the situation though. As a child, what can you do? We all gave Lauren hugs and offered her any help we can give. We have decided to keep this on hold. Lauren will remain on our team for the time being, and hopefully over Christmas she can work it out.

It is true though Vietnam, as a country, has not been pictured very well in American people's minds. A lot of people probably think of Vietnam as a war-torn country with jungles, battlefields everywhere. Although the truth cannot be further away, Vietnam has itself to blame as well for not having done much to portray the real picture and encourage people to come and see for themselves. All I can say is that Vietnamese people are very friendly. Maybe I need to stop talking because I am a Vietnamese anyways and people would think that I am biased. Here is the quote I got online from a traveller,Ray Wittman , responding to a question about the hospitability in Vietnam " My experience with Vietnam is that of a tourist having traveled from Hanoi and envoirns to DaNang and on down to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with a few stops in between.[..] I found the Vietnamese people exceedingly friendly to Americans. Some of them expressed the fact that they did not like what Americans did to their country during the war, but they really like American people. I found the Vietnamese to be very warm, generous, pleasant, inquisitive, always with a smile and all the good character traits that you could possibly want. All of this is quite surprising when you think that we were at war with this country just twenty-five years ago. All of my experiences in Vietnam have been pleasant ones."

Just as when you undertake a journey, here and there you face obstacles, the most important thing you have to find a way to remove them, go around them, avoid them but obstacles should not stop you from reaching your goal. We will keep Lauren, her parents and our team in our prayers and hope that we will be able to make it all to Vietnam without leaving anyone behind. If you have anything to share with Lauren, feel free to post it here.


At 12/12/2004 11:03 AM, Blogger Lauren said...

I really appreciate everyone's understanding and concern about my not being able to go on the trip. It only makes it that much harder for me to face the fact that I might not get to go. You all are such amazing, wonderful people and these past couple of weeks have really helped me to realize this.

If it does turn out that I won't be going, this doesn't mean I won't be with you in Vietnam. Because I will. I will be with you in prayer and I will have you all in my heart as you give so much of yourselves to help those children.

Once again, I thank you for your support and encouragement, it has given me renewed strength to talk to my parents one more time. Thank you so much.


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