As a theatre and communication major and lead pastor of Da Nang International Fellowship (DIF), Cindy Brewer loves to tell a story with music and dance. Each year DIF rents Trung Vuong Theater to give a musical presentation of the Christmas story to Da Nang residents. Merry Christmas Da Nang now has two packed performances, totaling 2400, and an international choir that is 70 percent Vietnamese.
In the beginning, Cindy, who at the time was the associate pastor of DIF, thought the Christmas program would be primarily for expatriates away from home during the holidays, but it has grown to so much more.
“The Christmas ministry had a ripple effect,” Cindy said.
Those involved in the production total more than 100, which is larger than their congregation. Many come to practice their English, but find faith in Jesus Christ.
Dancers, actors, choir members, production specialists, backstage personnel, and costume, prop and design artists share the joy and hope of the Christmas season the first weekend of December. This year’s program entitled Christmas All Over the World provides a cross-cultural representation of music, dance and traditional Christmas celebrations from around the globe.
“It really is like planting a kernel of corn,” she said. “What comes up is so much more than what you anticipated. Those are the moments that you feel like, ‘This is what I was made for.’”
DIF is a congregation of about 100 expatriates from 15-20 countries who meet together weekly. The group is theologically and denominationally diverse, but shares the common desire of an English speaking service.
“A lot of our members are missionaries and come as part of non-governmental organizations to do the work that they are committed to,” Cindy said. “But the greatest change in their life is something God does in them.”
English teachers use the Christmas program as a way, not only to teach English, but also to talk about the story and meaning of Christmas. Recently, one of the teachers had several in his group come to faith and go on to baptize a couple of their friends, too.
“For so long, you don’t see the fruit, and then all at once, it’s everywhere,” she said.
The church also partners with the Communist government to provide for humanitarian needs. Together they allocate resources to underprivileged children, host holiday parties at the local pediatric hospital, and sponsor two families to provide school expenses for their children.
In addition to her work at DIF, Cindy also serves alongside her husband Tony, who founded Orphan Voices nine years ago. This 501c3 serves orphans and children at risk for sex trafficking, with physical handicaps, and special needs.
Through Orphan Voice, the Brewers have begun Promise House for orphan care; the Phu Ninh Therapy Center for handicapped children; New Beginnings School for the Deaf; and Victory House for teenage girls, who age-out of the orphanage system. In addition, Orphan Voice provides food supplements in many communities; micro-enterprise projects in their “Keeping Families Together” efforts; and provides for much-needed medical care, including cleft lip/palate and heart surgeries.
Each year, thousands of school children are taught how to avoid the snares of trafficking in Orphan Voice’s “More Precious Than Gold” seminars. Parents, teachers and community leaders also receive training in recognizing and eliminating trafficking traps in their areas. The opening of a second therapy center is planned for the spring of 2018.
“God could call anyone to be in Vietnam and be part of the children’s lives and do the little things that make a huge difference,” she said. “But aren’t we thankful that God allowed us.”
Through their work with international adoption, God answered their prayer for children of their own. After struggling with infertility for 13 years and experiencing the disappointment of five failed adoptions, they now have five daughters. Three are from China and two from the U.S.
“In my life, the things I thought were the worst, have actually been the doorway to the greatest things that I would have missed if I would have fought against it and insisted on my own way,” she said.
Cindy is currently pursuing her D.Min. from Asbury Seminary and expects to graduate in 2020.
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