Our last stop in Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by most of the people there. We had only 2 days there, so we explored what we could, mostly on foot. We saw the Independence Palace, the War Remnants Museum, and the Revolutionary Museum (which displayed artefacts of the multi-generational Communist struggle, first against the French, then against the Americans). We also saw several different places of worship. Communist Vietnam is really opening up, not only to entrepreneurship, but also to religion, allowing churches and other religious groups to apply to be officially recognized by the government. Still, many illegal churches still exist. In fact, the one we visited (at which Ryan preached) is in this later category!
A vendor selling banana-leaf lunch packets to the people on their motorbikes. Truly life on the go.
Ryan in front of the Revolutionary Museum
Mural representation of when the Viet Cong finally broke through into the Independence Palace.
another couple! it is a beautiful "Sino-French" building from the 1920/30s.
One of the tanks that broke through to the Independence Palace (represented in the mural above).
War Remnants Museum. This place was intense. It had a display of all the journalistic footage of the war, and quotes from many (US) political and military leaders admitting the mistakes of the war.
Places of Worship
Notre Dame Cathedral
pretty pool at the Central Mosque
Mariamman Hindu Temple
inside Mariamman Hindu Temple
Parvathi and Murgan--Mariamman Hindu Temple
Nadarajah--Mariamman Hindu Temple
Mariamann with Ganesh (elephant) and others--Mariamman Hindu Temple
Bruce and Maria, married teachers from USA and the Philippines with whom we had a wonderful dinner.
United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam
Sunday morning worship with United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam
Ryan preaches, and youth pastor Minh Thai translates
The kid's put on a short play about Joseph.
Maria, wife of Pastor Khoa.
Maria has an inspiring story. She is also a pastor, and is especially passionate about ministering with and to women. She felt a calling to ministry, but didn't know how to answer, as she was the primary bread-winner for their family--her husband was not making much/any money as a pastor of an underground church. Also, she'd never met a woman pastor, and there weren't many in Vietnam. She says that God wouldn't leave her alone, and kept telling her she needed to become a woman pastor. Eventually a way opened up for her to study in Phnom Penh. She is now a powerful woman pastor focusing on the needs of women in Saigon. She and her husband had just returned from an "Empower Asia 2011" conference in Jakarta. Our prayers will continue to be with Maria and the UPCVN!
The sun setting on Vietnam as we leave via an international bus to Cambodia.