By: Rev. Lyndy Zabel
In 2014, the Minnesota Conference formed a partnership with United Methodist missionaries in Vietnam to help foster an abundant life for Vietnamese children. Specifically, the partnership will help expand Grace Children’s Center in Ho Chi Minh City, a United Methodist ministry that’s currently providing education and daycare for about 20 children from broken homes. Since last year, 26 churches have heard presentations about the partnership and taken the first steps to get involved. (Contact Director of Missional Impact, Rev. Lyndy Zabel if your church would like to learn more.)
Here’s a brief look at what’s been accomplished to date:
• Steering team: A steering team of 22 people has been formed to shape and direct the Vietnam partnership. This includes individuals from all five districts, four from Vietnam, and representatives from the Vietnamese Fellowship in Richfield and the General Board of Global Ministries. (Zabel is chair, Laura Cottington is secretary, and Rev. Pam Serdar is treasurer.)
• Vietnam visit: In January 2015, a five-person advance team from Minnesota visited Vietnam to assess needs and work out the details of the partnership. In January 2016, a second advance team will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to make final preparations for joint ministries and teams at Grace Children’s Center. There more than 30 people who have indicated interest in traveling to Vietnam in the future.
• 50/50 agreement: We have committed ourselves to and signed a 50/50 partnership agreement. (Click here to learn about 50/50 partnership covenants.)
• Prayer ministry: We have started a prayer partner ministry between United Methodists in Vietnam and United Methodist churches in Minnesota. Ministries and names of children have been exchanged between the two. For more information, contact Suzanne Mades.
• Love Offering at work: $10,000 from the 2015 Love Offering was used to pay off the current mortgage at Grace. This place allows children in poverty to be off the street during the day, protects them from trafficking and child labor, and gives them an opportunity to receive an education in a Christian environment.
• Expansion: We are making plans to help expand the size and scope of ministry at Grace—including increasing class sizes; adding additional grades; adding additional subjects, like music, Korean, health, and Vacation Bible School; and hiring more staff to accommodate these changes. We may also help with a building expansion. We are hopeful about starting a second orphanage in the Ho Chi Minh area as well.
• Donations: Donations for our future projects are welcome and appreciated. Checks can be made out to: “Minnesota Annual Conference,” and be sure to write “Vietnam Partnership” in the memo line. Checks can be sent to: Minnesota Annual Conference, 122 W. Franklin Ave., Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404.
Rev. Lyndy Zabel is director of missional impact for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church