First of all, I would like to share just how well done this trip is for the teaching pastors. From the beginning, the communication with Harmony was great! Travel plans were completed for us in good time as well as attaining a Visa through Red Tape Solution. The only thing we had to concern ourselves with was the material we would be teaching.
Once we landed in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we were personally greeted at the shuttle area and a taxi was waiting to take us to the hotel. The Elios Hotel was well above our expectations. Very friendly staff and the hotel was clean and accommodating. In addition to the breakfast buffet at the hotel, the new "food court" plaza across the street offers many options for anyone concerned about what you may eat.
We spent a couple of days walking the streets around the hotel, including the Ben Thanh Market where we had fun haggling with the local vendors. We also paid for an inexpensive "City Tour" where we learned a lot about the history and culture of the Vietnamese people and traditions. Although we were very conscious of our surroundings and didn't stay out real late, we felt very comfortable in the area and never felt unsafe.
Our hostess, our translator and the Pastors we spent time with during our trip were such a blessing. We were constantly challenged by the testimonies of the early church in Vietnam, the perseverance that has been displayed and the incredible things that God is doing still today. I would describe this trip as a step back in time to the book of Acts.
Lastly, the classes were so much fun to be part of. The students were so excited to have us and they were like sponges. The were very attentive, took pages of notes and they especially loved the end of our sessions when we had a Q&A. Sometimes they would ask about the subject we just taught and other times they asked about some practical things they are experiencing in their house churches. Maybe the biggest answer to prayer for us was the translator. She was very smooth working between the teacher and the students.
Overall, our experience was terrific. I recommend anyone considering this trip to "go all In!" It was such a stretch in faith but God met us every step of the way.
--Brent Fees, Calvary Chapel Des Moines, IA