SaPa Trails from 27th to 30th Oct 2017

Mission trip to northern Vietnam, Lao Cai province

Yet another privilege for me to be taken along by my friend for his mission trip to Lao Cai Province. Lao Cai province is near the border of Yunnan China and has lots of mountainous terrains. It is a fairly prosperous province as there are lots of trades with China and many citizens on both countries visited each other countries through the only Vietnam-China border crossing.

Here up in the cool mountains are the Hmong tribal people living up there. There is a popular SaPa trail where many tourists like to visit and trek the scenic SaPa trail, enjoying the cool air and freshness of the mountain atmosphere.

This was in October 2017 when I flew in to HCM from Singapore for this 10-days trip. From HCM, we flew via inland flight from HCM to Hanoi and then took the train up to Lao Cai. From Lao Cai we were met by two local tribal church deacons with a motorcycle to use for visiting the few tribal churches up in the SaPa and Bac Ha mountains.

SaPa town up in the cool mountain

From Lao Cai, we make our way to SaPa where we check in to a small hotel in SaPa town. There was a little bit of rain and the mountain air was cool and fresh, refreshing our weariness.

Home churches near the border with China

After riding down from SaPa to Lao Cai border town, we visited the Vietnam-China border crossing point. Then we head off to visit home churches near to the Vietnam-China border where we can see China across the mountain ranges. This is entering into the Bac Ha mountain areas to visit so as to support the workers with donated funds and encouraging them.

Here we enjoy the view of the Song Chay River as we ride mostly along the trail that runs along this river.

The church up in the Bac Ha mountain ridges

To reach to this church where this Vietnam pastor was invited to preach for their Sunday service, it was a long, arduous and perilous ride along a dangerous mountain trails.

I was riding pillion on his motorcycle and as I watched him navigate all the treacherous and dangerous mountain trails, I could not help but worried about the dangerous route we are using. In my mind I was having questions about how we are going to get back. Would there be dangers that we could not anticipate and overcome?

The trail was narrow at some points with a steep drop on one side down the mountain side. It was generally uneven, muddy and slippery till the motorcycle tyres would spin. At certain stretch, the trail is broken and there were construction material obstructing. We do meet steep gradient at a couple of stretches.  There is one section where a flowing stream cuts across the trail but luckily it was not a big stream and so we are able to safely cross it. I video this Bac Ha trail ride as it was not something that most of us would not be brave enough to ride through.

Why he is diligently doing this

So I asked the question that is in my mind about how dangerous and risky riding along this trail to him: It is so risky to get to these churches and yet you do not mind doing this. Why are you not worried about the risk in doing this?

His just-matter-of-fact told me that he would go wherever Jesus sends him. As he was invited by the church to preach he would happily go no matter what obstacles he would meet along the way. He would not say no to the Master's request and that was his answer to me.

So we reached the church in good shape by the grace of God and he preached in this first church for their Sunday service.

The local faithful deacon and his hospitable family

Here in Bac Ha we were taken to the mountain highest viewing point for a fantastic view of the majestic mountain range. To end the day, we headed to the deacon's home where we had our dinner and we celebrated his daughter's birthday with this family. What a blessed family to have their home opened for God's works.

The lesson from this trip

“Distance nor Obstacles is no barrier to God’s love”