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[Vietnam] Mind Lecture in a Communist Country (February 28, 2012)

There was a guest mind lecture with Pastor Ock Soo Park, the founder of Lincoln School, at Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Twe-ru-e University in the main auditorium.

The last time Pastor Ock Soo Park visited Hanoi, we could not have a conference with the police force. So we postponed the mind lecture to this February. While we were scheduling for this month, Pastor suggested that it would nice to get to have a mind lecture as he visits Vietnam – so we started to look for schools.

The schools we visited welcomed us. In Vietnam, a lecture is very rare – especially guest lecture by a foreigner is hard to be found. Each school was pleaded with the plan – they all agree that it would be great and necessary for the students. We also got an approval from the dean to visit this University of Humanities and Social Science, yet couple days prior to the lecture, the police force cancelled it. In the Communist country with political and religious sensitivity, the gathering of multitude for any sort of conference is a target of surveillance – and is not easy to be done. However, as we looked for other schools, we came to decide to have the mind lecture at 3 universities and 1 high school.

The mind lecture at Twee-Ru-ee University was decided suddenly. (It was the university we visited on the first day.) When we visited to ask to hold the lecture on the 17th, the vice principal La Van Xep grew very excited and approved the mind lecture immediately without any hesitation. We could hardly see an empty seat in the 500 seated main auditorium. Especially the lecture was scheduled at 7:30pm, not in daytime, most of freshman and sophomore students filled up the venue. With some students leaning on windows and sitting on the hallways or near entrance door, about 700 students listened to the lecture.

The lecture began with the performance, “Choon Hyang,” prepared by Vietnam Ho Chi Min Church young brothers and sisters. The Hanbok, famous representative of Korea’s beauty in line, and music made the attendees delightful, and they applauded at the cheerful performances by Philippine and Cambodia joint Righteous Starts. The A Cappella and other African songs from Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Church young brothers and sisters, though looked little bit clumsy, presented a special moment to feel exotic African taste. With all 500 seats taken in the main auditorium, other students who could not get a seat were either sitting or standing on the aisles, watching the performances and listening to the lecture.

The phrase written in yellow on red banner, hung at the top of the stage, which read, “Long last the Vietnam Communism,” caught my eyes and reminded me once again that where I was a Communist country. Yet Pastor Ock Soo Park stepped onto the stage. It was little sad that he could not open the bible, but this unbelievable thing started – the foreigner was giving a lecture to 700 people gathering.

Standing on the stage, Pastor Ock Soo Park started with the story of Japanese who used to be director of a stock company and continued to open the world of heart, the world that no one has spoken about in Vietnam. “People are meant to meet by heart. Then you can feel a unique taste in a person. Once you see that taste, you will miss that heart. You miss that person. As you deal with people through heart, you will have more good people, more people you miss, more people you want to hang out, and more people you feel good and happy to meet around you. If you live like that, then you will be surrounded by people you love, and also those around you will feel peaceful.

On the other hand, if you don’t meet people through heart, but only on the surface, then just like when you see a durian for the first time, you can only smell stench and dislike people. “Why is he back again? I don’t like you. Go away!” You will only have such heart. If you live like that, you will only be surrounded by people you dislike”

For one and a half hour, without air-conditioning – only some fans on the ceiling – , the students were very focused on the lecture. Sound systems was bit unstable, and the quality of the speakers was low, yet Pastor Ock Soo Park talked about the world of heart – more loud and strongly than ever – through a lot of parables and led the students’ hearts. Their hearts were drawn by pastor’s heart.

“It is really amazing to see this sort of atmosphere here in Vietnam. Students are very focused and listening carefully.” One of the school officials was amazed at this unusual scene.

After the lecture, the vice principal presented a bouquet of flowers to show thanks, and students were shaking hands and taking pictures with Pastor Ock Soo Park; they all felt sad that they couldn’t have more time together. We felt bad that we couldn’t have a conversation with each one of them to see how they felt or whether they could understand the world of heart or not.

Leaving the university behind, we got a call on the car back to our place from 2 universities and 1 high school, notifying us that the mind lectures scheduled for the next day were cancelled. Once again, we were reminded that we were in a Communist country under surveillance from the police force. It was unfortunate that we could not have those lectures, but when we thought about it one more time, we could only be thankful that miraculously we could have the lecture at Twe-ru-I University today.

Pastor Park will stay in Vietnam in 21st and 22nd, for two days. Regardless of the surveillance and interference by the police force, we are looking forward to see how God will lead us to a new way – because God truly works.

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