From across the North Carolina, more than 500 members from 10 Vietnamese churches gathered at Mills Home on August 16, united in heritage and faith. For many, the journey began decades ago on another continent when they escaped war-torn Vietnam. Any specter of oppression was gone this day, however, as Christ brought the Vietnamese Baptist Fellowship together.
“Kính chào anh chị em trong Chúa Jesus Christ,” said Baptist Children’s Homes president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell to begin worship. A brief pause was followed by a wave of appreciative chuckles from the congregation.
“Tôi là Michael Blackwell,” Blackwell continued, “chủ tịch của Baptist Children’s Homes. . . Greetings to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am president of the Baptist Children’s Homes and I am very happy to welcome you to the Mills Home Baptist Church. Blessings to one and all.”
In addition to a message from Milton Hollifield, Jr., the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist state Convention of North Carolina, the worship service included dual-language songs, such as the children’s choir singing “Jesus Loves Me” – the soft, sweet chorus was recognizable without translation.
Dr. Joseph Phan, Fellowship leader, later explained their decision to hold the event at Mills Home. “We seek opportunities to worship and serve together with other organizations within the Convention.”
Rev. Paul Cao agreed, “Several of our members completed Baptist Men emergency response training, and are actively serving with the group. Last year the Baptist Men cooked lunch for our Revival.”
Following breakout sessions and a presentation of a generous donation of paper products to BCH, the group was given a campus tour and performed mission projects such as moving furniture between buildings, cleaning and clearing trimmed tree branches.
Later, amid joyful good-byes, it was apparent the Fellowship and BCH had indeed shared hope and given evidence