• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 28 September 2018 10:42

Fr Truong returns to Thailand to take up first assignment


Fr Truong Thailand 550“Joy is all around. I just have to be open to it,” says Fr Truong Thong Le SVD, as he takes up his first missionary assignment in Thailand.

Fr Truong, who was born in Vietnam and raised in the United States, has recently arrived back in Thailand as a fully-fledged SVD missionary priest, after spending time there as a student as part of the SVD’s Overseas Training Program (OTP).

He joined the Divine Word Missionaries in January 2010, after previously earning a Bachelor of Science, and took his first vows in 2012 and his perpetual vows and priestly ordination in 2017.

As a student with the SVD in Chicago, Truong applied to do his OTP in Thailand after having met Br Damien Lunders SVD and being introduced to his work in Thailand, which is part of the SVD AUS Province.

“I think that made an impression on me,” he says.

“And then, further along, I met with Fr Anthony Le Duc SVD, who was on home-leave in the US. He too, suggested that I should come to Thailand to experience the mission there.

“So, in the end, I found that I could contribute to the mission in Thailand, considering my talents and skills.”Truong says that throughout his two years in Nongbualamphu, Thailand, he had experiences of what mission is like, and through the people and the ministry, he was strengthened in his vocation as a religious missionary.

“Keeping this openness to the people, the culture, and the SVD ministries, I was introduced into different ministries and activities,” he says.

“I helped out at the HIV/AIDS centre, primarily working with the teenagers living with HIV. The centre is connected with the parish, and so I worked closely with the pastor. We would not only work within the confines of liturgical Church life, but we also had an outreach program to visit the elderly and the poor in the neighbouring villages. And I contributed to the local community by offering to teach English at the local high school.”

Truong says his OTP experience shaped his understanding of theology and mission enormously and, after returning to the US for two years to complete his studies, he wanted to return, to further deepen his understanding.

“I had considered other places, but the question that kept ringing in my mind was, ‘where could I best contribute to the mission’?,” he says.

“After exchanging emails  with Br Damien throughout the two years back in the US, I saw the need for me to come back and help with the mission in Thailand.”

Since arriving back in Nongbualamphu this month, Fr Truong says his main ministry has been learning the local language.

“I think that the primary ministry for me at this initial stage is language learning – learning how to say Mass and preach,” he says. 

“I consider it to be ministry because it’s such a humbling experience. Ministry is not just something done for others, but also something being done to us. I have to be humble enough to accept the help of others and to relearn the things that perhaps I’ve taken for granted.

“I’m looking forward to working with Br Damien at the centre and also Fr Vinh at the parish. I hope to be a humble servant to the stirring of the Holy Spirit in the Thai mission.”

Fr Truong says language and culture are the universal challenges of any missionary, but he is learning to be patient, as he works on becoming familiar with both.

“As an SVD priest, I want to be able to say Mass and preach in Thai with the same level of fluency as my English or Vietnamese,” he says. “I still have a long way to go and the journey requires a lot of patience.

“Another challenge to overcome is this constant urge to do something or accomplish something. It’s a temptation for me to get busy, but what’s more important, in my experience, is a solid foundation in one’s spiritual life. I think without a deep personal relationship with Christ, the work that I do tends to lose meaning, which easily turns into burn-out. So, the challenge for me, is to persist in prayer.”

But despite the challenges, Fr Truong says the joys of his new assignment are many.

“I hold onto the little joys that happen every day, something as simple as having prayer with your confreres in the morning or having lunch with the patients,” he says.

“It’s consoling for me, as a newcomer, to be considered as a friend among those in the parish and at the centre. I find joy in living a slow-paced lifestyle here in Nongbualamphu, where everyone is not always in a rush. In all, joy is all around. I just have to be open to it.”