Guess what? We went to church today. We went to a international church. It felt I was in God's family because there were people from more than 30 DIFFERENT nations attending church! Wow that is a lot of different people. Church there was a lot different to our church at home. (Foothills Bible Church.) It was an A LOT smaller group, and the pastors seem to switch of every Sunday! Today their was a guest speaker who I think was from the Philippines, but I am not 100% sure. But I am sure that I did not fully understand the sermon, because his English was hard to understand at times. Also they did not have a certain building for the church. The sanctuary was a ballroom from a BIG hotel. After we sang a lot of beautiful hymns, we did the offering. After the offering we had the sermon of something. I did not fully understand the topic of the sermon. Soon after the sermon, we finished church. We tried to hail a taxi, but the first driver said we could not go to our destination.( Which was to have lunch.)We finally hailed a taxi that would take us to lunch. We had lunch at a place called KOTO's ( Which means Know One Teach One.) It was a school/restaurant that took in 30 students each year. Those students were either street kids, or disadvantaged kids. Such as the kid lived in a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very poor family, and could not afford for the kids to get education. When we were at the H'mong Mountain Retreat, we did a cooking class with a guy who came from a really, really, really, etc. And went to KOTO's. And now, he is the Master Chef at Sapa Rooms. (The place we stayed a in Sapa.) We all had yummy lunches. Then we wandered our way to our hotel. After 3 seconds in the hotel, we headed out to go see if we could go get tickets at the Water Puppet Theatre. But when we got to the place where you order your tickets, the lady at the desk just said NO in the most rudest way. So finally we got her to give us some tickets for 9:00 tonight. I am really excited. Now we headed back to our hotel. But then I remembered that we had ordered some beautiful hand carved stamps. We got those back and finally went back to the hotel. now we are just hanging out in room. AND Dad is on his way to Hanoi. I am SO excited. But he comes in the hotel at 11-12:00 at night! Surely we will be asleep! (hopefully!)
Well, today we woke up, ate breakfast and then asked the receptionist to get us a taxi to the Hotel Intercontinental. There is and international church that meets there for expats. So we decided to see what it was like. When we got there we were welcomed warmly and then went upstairs to the auditorium for the service. The church felt like the true family of God with over thirty nationalities represented! The service started out with singing and announcements. The singing was contemporary, about the same as Foothills (that's our church at home). The church was big enough that the guy doing announcements had to ask the new people to fill out a visitors card. Then the sermon started. The pastor was a guest speaker who traveled around southeast Asia preaching in different churches. The sermon was kinda hard to understand because he had a heavy accent. I didn't really get what the sermon was about but that may have been because I could only understand maybe eighty percent of the sermon. After it was over we went out and tried to figure out if we needed to call a taxi or if we were just supposed to catch a taxi that drove up to pick up anyone that wanted it. We just waited to get a taxi that drove up and decided to go with him. We asked him to take us to KOTO (Know One Teach One). The taxi-group wasn't one recommended by the hotel but we got to our destination.
Let me tell you a little about KOTO. KOTO started when an Australian man went to Vietnam and saw lots of street kids. He wanted to help them and so he tried to figure out a way to do so. His plan was to open a restaurant where he would take in street kids ages sixteen-twenty-two and train them for two years in the hospitality industry. His plan worked and they even opened another KOTO in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). They have graduated more than two hundred young people. They have a one hundred percent rate of their graduates finding jobs in the hospitality industry in Vietnam and even internationally! Well, back to the story. We arrived at KOTO and were told to go upstairs to the fourth floor on the way we saw some pictures of their graduates. We saw Quyen the chef at Sapa Rooms and another girl worked at Sapa Rooms and asked us to help her with her English. Then we went up to the fourth floor and sat down. The waiter came over and gave us our menu's and told us the specials of the day. We ordered spring and then we got our food a little while later. I had a sampler plate which was very small but delicious. It had spring rolls that were displayed kinda like what we made at Sapa Rooms. And a what looked like a crispy dumpling. It was good but not enough so I ate the dregs of Hannah's food and mom's food which was good also. It was neat to think that the entire restaurant was run by former street kids! When we were finished we walked back to the hotel. We hung out and worked on the blog and then wandered around Hanoi for a while. Then we went over to the puppet theater to try to buy tickets. We had been wanting to go to the puppet theater sometime but had been unsuccessful in our attempts. The reason was that the ticket lady (there was only one) was very sour to everyone. We asked her for tickets to the six o'clock show and she said with out looking up "No."
Then to save time we said "What time is available?"
She answered "Nine fifteen or eight o'clock tomorrow"
We decided to do the nine o'clock one to help ourselves stay awake for when dad came. Oh! I didn't tell you that dad is coming tonight! Well "Dad is coming tonight!!!" Then we went to have dinner. We ate and then back to the hotel until the show. We got there and went into the theater. By the time the show started the theater was full. It started with some music and then the puppets came out. For those of you who don't know what water puppets are I will tell you. The theater is a shallow, and square pool of water with a backdrop that looks like a temple/pagoda. It is placed in the middle of the stage so that the puppeteers can stand in the water behind it and control the actions of the puppets. In front of that the water continues to the edge of the stage. The puppets are wood figurines that are controlled by sticks from behind the pagoda backdrop. The art came from the hills where they put on shows in the rice patties. Anyway there were all sorts of cool things in the show. It had different scenes that portrayed country life. It had difernet animals and people. There didn't seem to be much of a plot but that may be because we couldn't understand the Vietnamese naration. Mom told me that when we went to the puppet theater when I was three I was mesmorised by the pupets and the candles and the fire.
After the show we went back to the hotel and waited for dad to come. Hannah was especially exited about dad coming and was bouncing off the wall in exitement. At about twelve o'clock mom looked out the window and said "you know, dad hould be here any time now" and at just about that time... Dad knocked on the door!!! hannah rushed over to greet him (here is where that picture in the smilebox comes in.) We stayed up for a while and visited with dad. Then we went to bed.