Mission to Vietnam
While Vassula was deliberating on which countries in Asia, and which cities in China to include in her March, 2017 trip, I suddenly received an e-mail from her mentioning Shanghai and Hanoi. That was a surprise to me because I know Hanoi is not in China and is situated in Vietnam. Had Vassula received an inspiration to go to Vietnam or did she mix-up her Geography?
For many years now, I knew of the existence of the Vietnamese translation of the True Life in God messages through Suzy Vardanian of TLIG Australia. I immediately contacted TLIG Australia and they put me in touch with Mary Xuan Dinh, a Vietnamese who lives in Melbourne, and who is today, one of the translators of the TLIG messages. Mary told me the history of TLIG in Vietnam: long ago, the late Vietnamese priest, Fr. Augustin Nguyen Duc Thu, S.J. attended Vassula’s talk in Adelaide, Australia and saw the Holy Face of Jesus on Vassula! From then on, with the help of his friends, priests and lay people, he translated the Messages and TLIG in Vietnam was born. Amazingly in 2004, the Lord called Mary Xuan Dinh by covering her with the fragrance of incense for three days and led her to the home of Avo and Suzy Vardanian who had set up the TLIG Australia Association. There, Mary fell upon the TLIG book, My Angel Daniel, and was touched. She now continues working with the Vietnamese TLIG translation team on volume four and the HIR (Heaven is Real but so is Hell) to complete the Vietnamese translation of these books. Thanks to Fr. Thu’s engagement, the road to Vietnam was starting to open and True Life in God was slowly making its way into that country.
We were then put in touch with Mr. Hoang Tran who lives in Austin, Texas and had been disseminating True Life in God message for many years. Through Mr. Hoang’s commitment and desire to have the Messages known in his country, he agreed to organize Vassula’s visit through a couple of newly acquainted contacts in Saigon. Vietnam was to be the eighty-sixth country to formally receive a witness talk by Vassula.
Organizing preparations for our Lord’s messages is full of challenges, especially when dealing with Communist countries like China and Vietnam. We were already made aware of the strained situation between the Church and State in China, and realized it was the same in Vietnam. Permits are needed for any gatherings of crowds; therefore, Hoang informed Vassula, as it would be her first visit in Vietnam, to speak only at convents and at an ecumenical meeting held in a pastoral center.
Two days before departing from Guangzhou for Saigon, we were informed that the Vietnamese TLIG books and HIR that were supposed to be printed and available for Vassula’s talks were, at the last minute, not allowed publication by the government! At that stage, Vassula was about to cancel her trip to Vietnam. However, the good Lord came to our rescue. Hoang and Mary tried their best to ship the books and asked their friends to carry about 80 copies from Australia and the USA to Vietnam as samples for the audience. Besides this, Sophia and Lulit from a TLIG Thailand prayer group who planned to attend Vassula’s talk and assist the organization in Saigon, if needed, were willing to carry another 30 copies into Saigon with the help of Fred, Sophia's husband, and Bethany from the TLIG Australia Association. Fred happened to be leaving the following day for Sydney, Australia on a business trip and he took with him a huge empty suitcase, filled it up to the brim, brought these books to Bangkok, and Sophia and Lulit flew them into Saigon! Upon knowing this would happen, Vassula was then willing to continue her visit to Vietnam.
March 8 Arrival in Saigon
After a two and a half hour flight from Guangzhou, we were met in Saigon Airport by Sr. Frances Ha Thanh Tinh, the Mother Superior of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity and Kien Tran, a supporter of the TLIG Messages. They have known about True Life in God for many years through Fr. Thu and Mary.
They were very happy to welcome Vassula and Fr. Joseph to their country.
March 9 Planning of Ecumenical Meeting and Vassula meets Cardinal Emeritus Jean-Baptiste Minh Man
Vassula and Fr. Joseph met Fr. Francis Xavier Bao Loc, Director of the Office of Interreligious and Ecumenical Relations.
Through Fr. Francis’ team, the ecumenical meeting was confirmed for the following Tuesday, March 14. Fr. Francis expressed his view of God’s Message given to Vassula: “I like the image of 3 iron bars. It's true that the key to unity is humility and love. It's time to place garlands of love on our Lord’s Head instead of the crown of thorns.”
On our way to visit His Eminence, Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, we were shown the chapel within the seminary grounds, built by French priests.
Vassula is introduced to Cardinal Emeritus Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man
March 11, Saturday: Saigon Meeting at the Convent of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
With God's grace, our TLIG Vietnam organizers were able to prepare three talks in Saigon, despite all the difficulties, hesitations and unknown variables.
This convent, which is located in the center of the city of Saigon, hosted the first TLIG event. This event was an invitation from the Superior General of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. It was a perfect opportunity for Vassula to witness on her experience of God, mentioning the many clarifications made to confirm the authenticity of the messages of True Life in God.
Sr. Marie Rose Vu Loan, the Superior General of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, welcomed Vassula to the meeting. As she has known about the True Life in God messages for many years, Sr. Marie Rose was so happy to have her guest share the Messages in person with her community. She said: “Vassula’s sharing and witness are very familiar to what we live and commit to God. Although there's limited time, Vassula has delivered the main points of the TLIG messages.”
The audience in attendance was made up of 150 nuns and novices, and some family and friends who were so eager to hear and know God’s message for the world today.
The books were very quickly dispersed after Vassula’s address. We were told that many years ago, volumes one-three (1986-1990) had been printed in Vietnamese and over 2,000 copies were distributed in Vietnam, Australia, Canada, and the USA. A Vietnamese website had been created for Vietnamese people worldwide to access the TLIG messages, TLIG information, and a dubbed Vietnamese version of Vassula’s 1998 meeting in Australia online. This had been posted on YouTube five years ago and had 60,000 visits. Many telephone calls were received from those who were touched and converted after reading the first three volumes online and watching the video. Readers have expressed the joy they feel for the intimate love that Jesus reserves for His children, the tenderness of God, and the two virtues that bring unity: humility and love.
In the audience were Van and her mother who listened closely to Vassula’s talk that morning. Van was very happy to share her experience of True Life in God which started in 2012. “Long before that, while I was a university student, I had strayed from my faith; I no longer believed in God. I had searched on my own for information and read many books on different religions, leaving my Catholic background behind. This saddened my mother and the rest of my family, leading them to pray intensely for me. I was at a stage in my life when I turned a deaf ear to anything my mother would say.
When the TLIG books were published in Vietnam, my mother bought a book and left it lying on my bed without saying a word. When I retired to my room and saw the book, I started to read it. I instantly felt God’s love come close to me, undergoing a change of heart while I went through a spiritual cleansing through heavy tears. My life changed; I now go to church daily, spending hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament adoring God. I feel I belong to God.”
March 12, Sunday Vassula speaks at the Convent of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity
This congregation which was started by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is dedicated to helping poor elderly people, children, and pregnant single mothers. The Superior General, Sr. Frances Ha Thanh Tinh, and the many nuns and novices were so thrilled to welcome Vassula!
Vassula’s talk took place in one of the children’s classrooms filled with about sixty novices, nuns and single mothers. Details about the very beginning of her experience with God’s call through her Angel Daniel were revealed. She described her Angel’s reactions to her ignorance of her knowledge of God, her outright “wretchedness” with regard to her behavior, and her submission to this divine call through repentance. This profound regret in displeasing God came after she had undergone a three week purification wherein God revealed her soul to her the in the manner He sees it.
It was such a beautiful story that it can only be to God’s glory, resounding in our hearts an awareness of God’s grace and drawing us into a sincere repentance. This Love Hymn entitled True Life in God with its many themes of Intimacy with God, His Mercy, Repentance, Prayer without Ceasing, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Unity of all Christians is given to us today, to teach us and guide us through this End Times.
The young novices, the nuns and the Superior General, St. Frances, were filled with joy to see and hear the Messages that reveal the simplicity of God and His nearness. The questions that were asked after Vassula's talk concerned the gift God gave her and how she receives the Messages through locution. Sr. Frances showed the audience the books with the original handwriting. She had known about Vassula from Fr. Thu and has been reading the Messages for a while. Her comment expresses how she was touched, "God sent Vassula to Vietnam during this Lenten season to be a witness. When Vassula talked, I felt like God was talking directly to each one of us out of His Love. We have to humble ourselves and stay in silence so that we can hear God's voice because He is so close to us, around us and in each one of us."
After Fr. Joseph celebrated the Sunday Mass, a group of single mothers came forward with their infants for a special blessing.
March 14, Tuesday Ecumenical Meeting at the Saigon Catholic Pastoral Center
This Pastoral Center in the Archdiocese of Saigon includes the Headquarters of Ecumenical Affairs, the Office of the Archbishops’ Conference, the seminary, and the headquarters of various Catholic groups.
Vassula's talk at the Pastoral Center based on "Unity in Diversity," was well received by pastors and religious leaders of different denominations. It was organized by Fr. Francis Xavier Bao Loc. As a result of this talk, a positive communication channel for future dialogues in Vietnam was established.
Seated in the front rows were pastors of the different Protestant denominations in Saigon: Pastor Hồ Tấn Khoa of the Presbyterian Church, Pastor Nguyễn Văn Kiêm of the Lutheran Church, Pastor Phạm Đình Nhẫn of the United Gospel Outreach, Pastor Bùi Thanh Sê of the Pentecostal Evangelical Church, and Pastor Vũ Văn Hoàng of the Glorious Baptist Church. The rest of the audience was composed of representatives from the Cao Dai Church and Roman Catholic clergy, headed by Fr. Peter Nguyễn Văn Hiền, Executive Director of the Pastoral Center who very enthusiastically welcomed Vassula and Fr. Joseph.
After each pastor introduced himself and then, subsequently after Vassula’s talk on Unity, one could feel a joyful lightness in the atmosphere and moreover, I should say a relief. The comments we received from some of the participants showed how Our Lord’s message affected positively all those Christian denominations bringing urgency, but hope as well for the Christians to unite in diversity.
“I was touched by what God revealed to Vassula. I believe each one of us felt that it was really the cry from Jesus’ Heart towards His Church, His Mystical Body. Thank God for getting me over here. Once again I firmly believe the messages that Vassula, an ordinary lay person received are really from God. And I told myself ‘I should do something.’ Sometimes I felt discouraged because bringing Unity to all churches or denominations having lots of prejudices is not an easy task. But I think it must start from me with a different point of view: with respect, with love, and with acceptance.” - Pastor Phạm Đình Nhẫn of the United Gospel Outreach.
“After listening to Vassula’s witness talk, I was touched deeply and had lots of questions on how we can reach Unity. I thank God for granting me a chance to meet Vassula, a daughter of God, an Orthodox! Hopefully we can stay under one roof, one faith, one Jesus Christ so that we can eat the same Bread and drink the same Cup God grants us. Thanks be to God and to all priests, pastors, sisters and brothers for having me here.” - Pastor Nguyễn Văn Kiêm of the Lutheran Church
“First of all I’d like to thank the priests at the Pastoral Center for their warm welcome to all pastors to this event. Our Federation has twenty-seven denominations. Today, we reached a higher step, not only for Protestants and Catholics but also for Orthodox. We all came from one source, that’s God. We are one in God through Jesus. In the future, if you host any event like this, please inform us so that we can gather more than twenty pastors of different denominations from all over Vietnam so that we can all be in communion with our prayers to God, asking Him to bless our country during these difficult times.” -Pastor Hồ Tấn Khoa of the Presbyterian Church.
“Oh, God, the Father of love, please enkindle your love in all of us, all mankind on earth so that we are all united in You. Thanks be to God the Almighty!” - Br. Thian Chi - Cao Dai Church
“When I listened to Vassula, my first impression was that the Messages are from Jesus. Thanks a lot, Vassula, because today His messages have echoed in my heart and two things have touched my core as follows: First, dialogue alone is not enough. We must have love that is what I like. We have a lot of dialogue, but the key is love in our hearts, the love of God, the Spirit of Jesus. Secondly, we must not only pray, but we must also ‘live’…do it! When I heard this, I felt strongly that we must not only pray for Unity, but we must truly live the spirit of Unity. When Vassula said, 'Do it!' I did not know what to do because we all felt the task was so difficult. However, Fr. Bao Loc said ‘the hour’ belongs to God, not to us. One day we will all unite in diversity. Somebody asked: 'Is it necessary for a third Vatican Council, and how will it look?' I think it will include all brothers and sisters here and I also look forward to that day and pray for that day.” - Fr. Peter Nguyễn Văn Hiền, Executive Director of the Saigon Catholic Pastoral Center
Working for the Lord, with eagerness and an untiring spirit, is what our Lord is asking from each one of us; not only from Vassula, but from all of us! We, who were guided to read our Lord’s messages, have a duty, an obligation; we have to become witnesses of His Divine messages, without thinking of ourselves first or of our interests, placing these above the Lord’s House and His interests, because Christ did not think of Himself! We know, from Scriptures that people who did not give up, were helped by God. We can see very clearly once again the powerful effect the Messages have brought to the people of God, no matter where they came from, and who they were. The True Life in God mission continues spreading with the help of God to the four corners of the earth. The True Life in God seeds have been planted now in Vietnam. The openness of the clergy that organized Vassula’s meetings will hopefully spread True Life in God throughout the minority Christian population of this country and beyond.
For all worldwide TLIG readers, associations, and prayer groups, our mission is to first of all live the Messages, pray for Christian unity, help Vassula disseminate True Life in God, and defend the authenticity of the Messages. Above all, give glory to God. The Lord calls each one of us touched and converted by True life in God to do it! We should remain united and follow Jesus’ example so that united in mind and voice we may give glory to God.
We thank TLIG Australia, TLIG Taiwan, TLIG Thailand, specially Fr. Francis Xavier Bao Loc, Fr. Peter Nguyen Van Hien, Sr. Frances Ha Thanh Tinh, Sr. M. John Bosco Dinh Kim Thanh (USA), and Sr. Marie Rose Vu Loan for trusting us and providing space for the True Life in God messages to be addressed by Vassula. May God bless the TLIG Vietnam organizers, volunteers and friends for all their efforts. May God bless Vietnam!
Cecilia B. Lutz.