Elections, Change and Faith: Thoughts from Vietnam, part 1

Coffee with Thai

Coffee with Thai

Day 1 of Vietnam Trip.

I love Vietnam. This is only my second time back to this country since my family left here when I was a child. I’m pretty excited.

I want to capture a few of my thoughts and observations of my trip. There’s 3 specific thoughts that jump out at me.


The Vietnam of today is very different from the one that my family left in 1975. I had just turned 1 year old when we left two weeks before Saigon fell into the hands of the communists. Many in the first generation mourn what they lost.

For me, Vietnam is like meeting a long lost family member that you didn’t know existed. The city of Saigon (now known as “Ho Chi Minh City”) is so full of life and youthful energy and optimism. The majority of the country is young and was born after the “American War.” This country is coming out of its adolescene and growing up. There is a bustling economy and a growing middle class.

The hotel I’m staying at is the only 5-Star Hotel in the whole country. The service is amazing! And you get that for the price of a stay at the Double Tree by the airport back home. Within a couple of blocks you can get Starbucks, Burger King, and Popeye’s Chicken. But who wants to do that when you have all the street vendors everywhere? 

From the hotel, you can see the tallest building in Saigon that was built a few years ago. I love this building because I must have been designed by a Comic Book nerd because it looks exactly like Stark Tower in the Marvel movies. Maybe the Avengers Asia Team is hanging out in the penthouse.

One sad thing about the current Vietnam is the presence of the non-native invasive species called "The Hipster." The Western Hipster has started to invade the motherland. There's even two microbreweries a block from my hotel. Next door the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels that the Viet Cong used to infiltrate South Vietnam during the war is a new waterpark. Yes, a waterpark. I blame Anthony Bordain for this.


The world is getting smaller and smaller every day. Do you know what the first three people in Vietnam asked me? Who are you voting for? First, when the taxi driver realized that I was a Vietnamese-American (usually, they think I’m a Korean business person because of my generous mid-section) asked me if I voted for Trump or Hillary. Then the doorman and the concierge asked me the same thing. Interesting.

I flew 17 hours in 2 separate planes to a country that is as interested in Hillary v. Trump as Americans are. Interesting.


God is starting a movement here. There are dozens of new pastors that desire to start new churches in this country to make a difference for Jesus. It feels like a God is sending a swell that God and all we have to do is to recognize it and catch the wave.

So much of my focus has been the other way around. I usually dream up some impossible thing that I think needs to happen. Then I create a strategic plan of action. Only then do I beg God to give me favor and to bless the work of my hands. No wonder I haven’t gotten as much done as I wanted.

That stops here. I need to flip the script. I need to work on listening and obeying. God is on the move. He is asking me to join Him in His work. All I have to do is catch the wave that He is sending.

God is up to something so much bigger than we realize. I’m pretty excited about what God is up to. I want to just catch the wave.

So the lesson for us is this: We don’t have to create the wave. We just have to say “Yes” when He asks us to join him.

Thoughts from Vietnam about the election, change and faith. 

Thien DoanComment