Couples enter Vietnam to teach English

Four Church service individuals entered Hanoi this month to begin teaching English at two facilities here.

They will teach English to doctors and staff affiliated with the Tran Hung Dao Hospital and also to teachers, staff and children of the Hanoi Children's Palace, a school for young children.The members entered Vietnam Jan. 6 to assist the country in a humanitarian role, said Elder Monte J. Brough, Asia Area president and a member of the Seventy. The four members are the first Church service individuals to serve in the country since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Elder John K. Carmack, first counselor in the Asia Area presidency, escorted the two couples - Elder James LaVar Bateman and Sister Helen Ream Bateman and Elder Stanley Glen Steadman and Sister Mavis Lynnette Steadman - into the country. They were warmly welcomed in ceremonies at Tran Hung Dao Hospital and at the Children's Palace.

Dr. Nguyen Huy Phan, a faculty member at the hospital, gave welcoming comments at both the hospital ceremony and the greeting at the school.

"It is a great honor to welcome Elder and Sister Bateman and Elder and Sister Steadman to Vietnam," he said. "We know that it is a sacrifice for them personally to come here and we promise to take good care of them. We also appreciate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for sending them as part of their missionary program. We all need to improve our English and I intend to take one of their classes myself."

Children at the Hanoi Children's Palace, dressed in costume, welcomed the group. As the children lined up at the entrance of the school, they played a marching cadence on their drums to mark their steps into the school. The greeting was followed by a program of dancing, music and speeches.

Dr. Phan is president of Operation Smile Vietnam, part of Operation Smile International, a non-profit medical organization serving the people of many nations by providing needed surgical assistance in special cases and training medical doctors and staffs in countries such as Vietnam. Several members of the Church are part of the international organization.

Elder Carmack and the two couples also paid a courtesy call on Jan. 7 to the Director of Religious Affairs for Vietnam, the Honorable Vu Quang. He welcomed them to Vietnam on behalf of the country and thanked them for their willingness to serve.

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