12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

Vietnam 2009: At the Forefront

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Forefront TeamForefront Church out of Virginia has paved the way for many churches as they engage communities in the mountains around SaPa.  They are the ones who originally engaged Ta Phin and the school there to create a clean water source, computer lab and now they are paving the school yard there.

We worked with them on Monday afternoon, but, of course, I forgot my camera.  We helped move dirt and rocks, dug ditches and were generally amazed.  We are still learning from them how to engage these communities.  Here are some of their ideas that have stuck:

Everyone that comes over from their team buys the exact same t-shirt with their logo on it and wears it over their work clothes every day.  This way the people come to recognize them and who they are, even if it is their first time to Vietnam.

They employ local people to help build the projects they are working on.  This stimulates the local economy and improves quality of life and gives the members of the community ownership in the success and preservation of the project.

They work alongside the locals to build whatever project they are working on.  This amazes the people because the impression they have been left with previously is that the foriegners come in, drop money on them, take pictures and leave never to return.  Obviously, they get the impression that certain people really care about them and certain people don’t.

They’ve adopted one particular community and focused on it to the point where they desire to exhaustively serve that people group.  This has built a steady relationship and thrown open doors around the area with communities that are desirous of a similar relationship with us and other GVI partner churches.

They’ve not paid for everything, but found local partners to participate and join their water project, which has created a sense of ownership and protection of the water line, in particular.  The community even has a person who’s job it is to maintain and secure the water line leading to the community.

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