Just returning from a twenty two day visit with our friends at the Rach Suc Mission Church in Can Tho, Vietnam, Louis Lugo and I are pleased to report how much progress has been made with the help of Bridges of Saint Mark. Since the founding of Bridges of Saint Mark just a few short years ago, we have witnessed remarkable improvements to their facilities. Despite the fact that Father Michael (Nguyen Khac Minh) would send us pictures on the progress being made, nothing takes the place of actually being there and seeing for ourselves the results of their hard work and dedication.
Father Michael (Nguyễn Khắc Minh) and his vicar eighty year old Father Francis Xavier (Dinh Trong Tu), who have dedicated their lives to ministering to the poor, literally facilitate thousands of people who meet at the Rach Suc Church every year for pilgrimages and prayer. It’s important to note that the shear fact that over a thousand children (and the numbers are growing) and some two hundred and fifty volunteers from Can Tho University converge on Rach Suc for summer vacation is no accident but is the work and hope of Father Minh and Father Tu.
Never have I met such hard working and dedicated priests. They have proven their love for Rach Suc and their community over and over again by living every single day – day in and day out in the midst of the chaos of so many people – so many children – so many activities – so many needs.
Right now, according to several sources, no other Church in their diocese undertakes near the work nor feeds and ministers to such numbers as the Rach Suc Mission Church. What is most amazing and most remarkable is witnessing first-hand the impact their hard work and dedication has made on their community.
I’m certain that Bridges of Saint Mark would not exist today if we realized early on a haphazard – leisurely approach to ministry or if we discerned any level of mistrust or suspicion, but in this last visit, I am again reminded and more and more convinced that our coming together was a work of the Holy Spirit.
Update to the Facilities:
This Video shows most of the updates accomplished at the Rach Suc Facilities.
Checking the Hydraid BioSand Water Filters – 2016.
In these 2016 videos, Part one and Part two, we show our visit to the Binh An Catholic Church and a few of the homes where Bridges of Saint Mark implemented the Hydraid BioSand Water Filters in 2013 and 2014. Because we are aware that it defeats the purpose to merely distribute the plastic biosand water filter units to the poor without any follow-up nor further instruction, we are now working with Rach Suc Mission Church to establish so-called “Boots on the ground” where these individuals will take on the task of helping the poor receive, understand and maintain their biosand water filter. In our short visit to Can Tho, we were able to find several instances where individuals were not fully grasping the idea of establishing and maintaining the bio layer that forms on the top layer of sand that helps kill the bad bacteria, and, as you’ll see, we found one family who still has yet received their sand or gravel at all.
We will be working with CAWST, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, to help train our friends at Rach Suc and we will work to ensure they have all the tools and materials they need to make a better impact on the poor in their region.
CAWST is a Canadian charity and licensed engineering firm. They address the global need for safe drinking water and sanitation by building local knowledge and skills on household solutions people can implement themselves. They were founded in 2001.
You can visit them at: http://www.cawst.org/
Four New Dormitories Added for Young Women who attend Can Tho, University.
This video gives us a glimpse of the four new dormitories in the city of Can Tho for the young who attend Can Tho University which is approximately 4.3 km from the dormitories.