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Convocation reflection: Joy of the Gospel - Sharing our faith through our stories

by Tuyet Tran

In upcoming issues of FAITH magazine we'll be featuring a reflection from each member of the diocesan delegation to the Catholic Convocation which took place in Orlando in July 2017. This is the second in the series.

I was surprised when Bishop Walkowiak invited me to join the diocesan delegation attending the national Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, Fla., this past July. It was an honor to be asked to represent the Vietnamese community. However, to be asked because of my professional role as an information technology specialist was a bit confusing for me. I was not sure what technology had to do with sharing the Gospel.
I attended several workshops and received a special invitation to attend a session for Asian Pacific Island groups. There, we discussed multicultural and diversity matters in the United States. I encourage you to check out the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ website, which includes programs and resources about the many diverse groups and individuals in this country and in our Church.
I am looking forward to bringing these resources to the Vietnamese community. Hopefully, I can help in any way possible at the parish and in my community in the diocese.
As to technology, one of the workshops I attended at the convocation helped me understand the power of technology to spread the Gospel and to be a great resource for sharing our story.
The workshop focused on sharing stories to share our faith with others. It taught me a great deal about how to express myself with others. As part of the session, we had to practice with each other and each participant had to share a personal faith story. I was afraid at first, but I took a couple of steps going forward to God. I conquered my fear within a few days at the convocation, with the help of my co-workers.
I decided to share an encounter I had with a friend who I met in an online prayer group. Each night, we meet to pray and to worship. While we remain anonymous, friendships are formed through this group. One of the women in the group shared her story with me not long before I left for the convocation, which inspired me.
She told me that she just lost her right arm due to a tumor. I asked her why she didn’t take bed rest to feel better. She told me, “I’m very grateful and thanked God that I still have a set of eyes, ears and a voice to read the Bible and sing.” Her words touched me so much I cried. I have remembered her words since. She lives in Vietnam, but she was in my mind the entire convocation. Because of technology, we are able to be friends and share our love of God with each other.
Sharing her story at the workshop had a deep effect on me and those who heard the story. I believe that we are here to serve and to bring God’s word to others. It is a commitment of our time and talent. Through Christ and through the Gospel, we can do great things. I learned during that workshop that we are to live our life from the inside out; meaning we must first open our hearts, reaching far and speaking our minds. As you make choices about what path you will take, God is always there to guide you, so that you can pursue your life and future. 

About Tuyet

Information technology specialist for the Diocese of Grand Rapids
BIRTHPLACE: Saigon, Vietnam
RESIDENCE: Byron Center, Michigan
FAMILY: Husband and four children, three boys and one girl
BUSINESS/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Diocese/parishes and Vietnamese community
WHY YOU FELT CALLED TO MINISTRY: I always believe that we are here to serve, to help others. God always guides me to my life, my family and my work.

Over the next year, we will be sharing reflections from members of the diocesan delegation to the
"Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America."