8: Love Hanoi Conference

Love Hanoi Conference – Saturday 24/11 13:30-16:00

Situated between two rivers, with over 30,000 trees lining the streets, and more than 30 lakes dotting the city, Hanoi has a natural beauty rarely found in developing Asian cities. Yet, the rapid urbanization over recent decades presents a great burden on the environment. The small particle count (PM2.5) is “one of the highest in Southeast Asia” according to the OECD. Already, Hanoi is at the 10 million population mark, said the National Assembly in a recent report, almost 30 years ahead of schedule.

We love Hanoi, so how can we take action today to better the environment for tomorrow’s generation? That will be the question we will wrestle with at the upcoming Love Hanoi Conference on environment on Saturday November 24 in the afternoon. HIF CityPartners is organizing this conference for all HIFers, partner organizations, local churches, and friends to participate in. We have recruited several presenters to help us understand the opportunities and challenges in Hanoi. We are still looking for people interested in pitching ideas, products and initiatives in 5 minutes presentations.





7: Cuong’s story: Raising awareness for people with multiple disabilities

Cuong’s story: Raising awareness for people with multiple disabilities


Cuong is a 22 year old young man from An Phuc district in Hanoi. Cuong was born without sight, without hearing and has never talked. Cuong’s contact with others is through touch only. As his parents work during the day Cuong spends most days alone.
Recently, Mr Tam (formerly from the City Police) contacted Pastor Jacob about Cuong, the Tam of his friend, to see if HIF could help. CityPartners contacted Quy from Unbounded Space and a member of HIF, who took the time to assess Cuong’s sit-uation and talk with his parents.
Duc, together with Mai and Phuc (from another partner organization in the An Phuc area) visited to inter-view Cuong’s parents. During this interview, Quy told Cuong’s father about cases from other countries where education for children with multiple disabilities was available. Cuong’s parents seemed interested in learning more about educating Cuong in the hope that he might be able to communicate better with other people.
We are grateful to Duc, Phuc and Mai for their willingness to provide ongoing support. Quy and Unbound-ed Space will contact organizations that have experience in educating kids with multiple disabilities to find out what support & materials are available, e.g. how and what Cuong should be taught.
During the day, Cuong is always alone at home . It appears that this is something that causes him stress, given the lack of socialization and communication. Mai and his friends are able to visit Cuong and are keen to find ways to communicate with him. From Duc’s observation, Cuong’s perception of people sur-rounding him is quite good. Cuong is able to ‘recognise’ things and moves freely within the house & knows exactly where to put items.
Currently Quy is based in Hoi An, but can Skype with Mai and his friends to guide them how to work with people with disabilities so as to build relationship with Cuong. Quy advised that Cuong’s Dad wants to have Cuong’s hearing checked to see if hearing aids may help. Quy will contact an organization that provides hearing aids to see if they can help.
City Partners will keep updated with Unbounded Space re Cuong’s situa-tion although we cannot help won-dering how many others like Cuong are spending each day in solitude and loneliness in Hanoi? If anyone from HIF knows someone or has ex-pertise in this area, please contact CityPartners.
Michael Walls
(Names and image have been changed for privacy)


6: One-day roundtable with rehab leaders and government officials

Deputy Chief of Mission, Caryn R. McClelland of the US Embassy visited the Celebrate Recovery training, here holding flowers and posing with SAMHSA staff, Helping Up Mission experts, HIF staff and CityPartners volunteers

On Wednesday, during the Celebrate Recovery training, the key leaders of the Christian drug rehabs joined a one-day roundtable discussion with government officials in HIF’s classroom. Organized by SAMHSA, the goal was to seek support from relevant government offices for the faith-based rehab centers in order to provide much needed services to the beneficiaries. SAMHSA director Nadine Rogers had recruited Tom Bond of the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore to present an integrated model of a Christian faith-based rehabilitation center. Dr. Denis Antoine of the John Hopkins University and Hospital shared about their partnership with Helping Up Mission as a role model for cross-sector partnerships.

Workshop participants represented the Vietnam Administration for AIDS Control, Hanoi Prevention Medicine Centre, Government Committee on Religious Affairs, VHATTC Hanoi Medical University, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives, FHI 360, MOLISA Department of Social Vices Prevention, and the University of Labour and Social Affairs. Besides the Christian drug rehab leaders and pastors, the Catholic priest of Hai Phong and a Buddhist monk also attended the workshop. This roundtable being the first of its kind, the various participants committed to mutual support and collaboration with practical action steps to be made soon. Many thanks to Nadine and her staff for championing these milestone events.



5: Celebrate Recovery training in partnership with US Embassy equips 120 people

This past week a number of HIFers and many local drug rehab centers engaged in a Celebrate Recovery workshop. It was well attended by both locals and expats and it was exciting to see both local and international churches and communities engage with this well known 12-step recovery program. Jonathan Sherman, the Asia Director for Celebrate Recovery , shared how they run Celebrate Recovery in the USA and in China, and how we could potentially apply their principles and techniques here in Vietnam. HIF will be launching our own 12-step group soon!

This event was the third and largest training HIF has hosted in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) office of the US Embassy over recent years for the purpose of building the capacity of the Christian faith-based rehabs. This time, SAMHSA recruited the help of Saddleback Church’s Celebrate Recovery program to introduce a Christian 12-step approach to recovery from various kinds of addictions. This program provides additional tools and content for the Christian rehab centers in guiding their students through their recovery journey.

In addition, Celebrate Recovery can be used by any church or group to provide an ongoing weekly support group for graduates from the rehab centers and for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction. It is our hope that several Vietnamese groups will be launched in Hanoi and that Celebrate Recovery will spread nationwide. SAMHSA funded the travel expenses of the trainers as well as the translation of the course materials, which we hope to officially publish in the near future. HIF CityPartners contributed by sponsoring the simultaneous translation equipment and translators, as well as the meals and breaks.



4: Love in Action: mobilizing churches for impact

Love in Action: mobilizing churches for impact


The Love Hanoi Festival with Franklin Graham presented us with a very special challenge; one which we had never experienced before: How were we going to demonstrate the love of God to the city?

Our answer: Love in Action!

Love in Action is a unique committee which recognizes the powerful witness that many of the churches have created through their actions of service for their communities. Now formed as part of the Love Hanoi Festival, the committee hopes to carry out a number of new initiatives.

Thanks largely to CityPartners and the Love Hanoi Campaign, both of which had laid the path already and  developed a foundation for uniting local Non-Profit Organizations (NPO’s) and churches together to serve the city

Meeting  in early April, the Love in Action Committee selected specific issues or programs to focus on and support. These are:

  • Drug Rehabilitation Centers
  • Human Trafficking
  • Blood Drives
  • Neighborhood and Park Clean-ups
  • Training Churches in Service Project Development

Since agreeing on the goals, the committee has worked with the local churches to help turn these goals into reality, achieved through a combination of projects, training sessions and seminars.

Workshops & seminars

One of the key hopes of Love in Action has been to help develop awareness of the issues which have been plaguing the city and provide training on how to combat it.  Love in Action has partnered with groups to hold awareness events for the people in the city. They were the Anti-Trafficking organization ColorMe, the Christian based rehabilitation centers, and the Pro-Life organization Passion Life.

To date over 600 people have attended these events and there are still several more events planned this month. 130 church leaders have attended training programs and seminars that seek to teach about the theological directive for Christians to love their city and strategies for how churches can begin their own projects.

Future vision

With the Love Hanoi Festival only a few weeks away, the Love in Action Committee is hoping to complete some of its goals and mission before the festival occurs. However, the true goal of these projects is to create a culture amongst churches to partner with one another and with their local government; a partnership that will continue long after the festival has finished.  Through the continued efforts of City Partners and Love Hanoi, we hope that dialogues, seminars, and training sessions can continue to occur and even greater works of love can manifest in the city.

Lucas Jens Chatelain
Billy Graham
Love in Action




3: Christmas Party at Phu Chau Children’s home

Christmas Party at Phu Chau Children’s home

HIF members, you made 2017 great! YWAM Mercy Vietnam staff, and the children of our Children’s Homes, wish you a happy and prosperous 2018.
YWAM Mercy celebrated Christmas, at the Phu Chau Children’s Home on December 17. ‘Joyful, Sharing & Love’ were the themes. 168 people attended including children, staff, district and commune leaders, sponsors, volunteers & neighbors. Our volunteers and sponsors organized games & helped with putting up decorations.

Playing, singing and dancing filled the air. Performances by the children were a way of saying thanks to the home staff and sponsors, who all help to create the opportunity for the children to have a better future despite the hardships they’ve experienced in their lives. We all enjoyed a delicious dinner together and then a concert.

Sharing and Love

Every child received a present on this celebration day. HIF members were able to choose a child to sponsor from the Phu Chau children’s home and then filled a shoebox with individual gifts for each of these children. At the end of the day, every child received a gift– which they enjoyed so much. These were special gifts, given with LOVE.
We would like to thank all members of HIF for their contribution to-wards the gifts and the Christmas Party. God bless your continuing support.

Natalia and Alexander Priester


2: Keep Hanoi Clean: Long Bien Project

Keep Hanoi Clean: Long Bien Project

There is a lot to love about Hanoi.  The culture, the food, the people. There is a lot which we are able to look at and take joy in, but for all the beauty it holds, Hanoi has an ugly side to it too. For two years James Kendall lived in Hanoi, like most of us when confronted by a mountain of garbage, covered his mouth, looked away, and kept on moving. That was until May of 2015 when he finally decided that he was done just letting the garbage continue to encroach upon his neighborhood and decided to do something about it.  Taking up what resources he had, James began to reclaim his land and on that day Keep Hanoi Clean was born.    

Ever since, the group has held regular clean-up projects around the city to raise awareness of the issue and help generate a proactive spirit of change in the community.  This summer, Love in Action connected with James and his team to create a partnership between the two groups holding three clean-up projects in local neighborhoods and parks to date. 

November 25th and 26th will mark the date for the largest clean-up project Keep Hanoi Clean has ever attempted and it’s taking place at the Long Bien Bridge.  This effort will require hundreds of people armed with trash bags and shovels to help the community that lives under the bridge take back their land. In addition, we hope that the project will establish a partnership between the local community and the government to provide regular continued care for the area.



1: Drug Rehabilitation Training

Drug Rehabilitation Training

of Hanoi.  Many of the pastors who are serving in the community today are former addicts whose faith played a crucial part in freeing them from their addiction. Now saved themselves, they have gone on to open their own rehabilitation centers, providing help and care for addicts in the city.

This Spring, the Love in Action committee began hosting dialogues with the leaders of these centers to discuss their needs and hopes for the future of their programs. Many of these centers have gained great recognition for the care provided to their clients, however many of them still lack the access to training and government authorization. In response to this, Love in Action reached out to the U.S. Embassy’s Department of Health and Human Resources to develop a partnership with the centers.

In October members from HIF met with Embassy Representative Nadine Rogers and her team to visit centers in the city and better understand their situation and challenges.  Earlier this month Love in Action hosted a training seminar provided by Ms. Rogers’ team with members from all of the centers in attendance regarding the issues of abuse and strategies for treatment.

This seminar was just the first step that is opening up a new relationship for the US Embassy and the centers to partner together to help provide the leaders with certification and recognition from local government leaders.



Love in Action new logo, website & FB page

Love in Action new logo, website & FB page

The Love in Action Committee of the Love Hanoi Festival is continuing its efforts post festival event. In June 2017 the committee had purposely set goals for one year, determined not to stop love the city even though the festival organization would end. The committee has recruited new members and is seeking additional volunteers for various roles.
It is our objective to complete the goals already set by June 2018 and to coordinate ongoing efforts by all churches to serve their communities. To do so, a new website has been created with the content of the Love in Action booklet, plus pages for news, events and resources. You can also find us on Facebook as Yeu Thuong Bang Hanh Dong.