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Changing Lives One Caterpillar At a Time

September 17, 2010

Speech therapist Leah Rice recently went to Vietnam as a presenter on NorthWood Church's Special Education Training team. She shares one moment that stood out from her first trip

There were so many amazing and fulfilling moments on this trip to Vietnam for me, so it was hard to narrow it down to only one to share. However, if I think about this trip and why I felt that God had called me to this trip in particular, there is a moment that stands out to me with great poignancy. It was the last day of our Special Education conference, during the Closing Ceremony. I was breathing easier because I was done with the public speaking part of the trip, which was the part I was most nervous about. We had been speaking to teachers, students, administrators and parents of children with special needs, and each group and chosen a representative to come forward and say a few words to all of us regarding the conference and what it meant to them.

The Parent Group had chosen a man, whom I had met and spoken with briefly about his son who was just recently diagnosed with Autism, Mr. Binh. He began to speak about how much this conference had meant to him, how he had no hope before, and that he felt angry and lost. He went on to explain that after the conference, he was filled with hope and knowledge, and that he had so many of his questions answered. He ended his short little speech by standing next to our banner showing the caterpillar transforming to the butterfly, with the words “Be The Change” (the conference theme) and he said these words: “I know now I am the caterpillar. And I am changing. And I know that now I can fly, and soar high into the sky above the trees, as a beautiful butterfly.” It brought tears to my eyes and chill bumps to my skin, as I realized how tangibly we as a group had changed a life—a real life, of someone whom I had met and spoken to one-on-one. And I felt as though I had been part of something that had made a real difference on a personal level, which was what my hope was in going on this trip.

One last little serendipity of this moment, was that I was able to work with Mr. Binh, his wife and his son the following days at the university. It was wonderful to get to see him continue to grow and learn, as well as teach and inspire me and the teachers that work with his son. 

view this photo on Flickr
Leah Rice (L) and Sharon Gifford (R) with Mr. Nguyen Thanh Binh, his wife and son



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