Vietnam | Edward Rodriguez

On November 13, 2022, Adventists in Ho Chi Minh City held a fun run to inspire participants to be physically active, mentally aware, and socially connected through regular cause-oriented marathons. More than 150 runners participated in the race, which began before dawn at the Gia Dinh Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City's Binh Thanh District.

The Vietnam Mission's Health Department has been hosting the fun run for six years to promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle in a positive and upbeat setting. Through numerous health-focused initiatives, this campaign, known as "Let's Move Day," enables the Adventist community in Ho Chi Minh to forge healthy relationships with the community.

“Every year, more and more people are joining, and it is a blessing to share these moments with the community,” said Pham Nguyen To Phuong, Health and Publishing leader in the Southeastern Union region. 

Three different events made up the fun run: a relay marathon, a 400-meter kids' race, and a 5-kilometer run. In appreciation for their participation and willingness to finish the marathon alongside their coworkers and new acquaintances, all runners received medals.

One of the runners, Keiko Le Bao Ngan, who took first place in the women's 5k category, thanked the program for giving her a chance to relax, let go of her stress, and enhance her relationships with her family and friends.

“This is the sixth year of the Let’s Move Day program, and it just gets better and better,” Ngan said. “More than the medal I received, I am grateful to see more people interested in bettering our health and finding ways to improve our lifestyle.”

There were runners of various ages. Despite the difficulties of her advanced age, 76-year-old Tran Thi De is the oldest runner who participated.

To encourage people to support this cause, the Adventist community in Ho Chi Minh distributed invitations to adjacent communities. Some runners have been participating in various health initiatives and ongoing activities of the Adventist community in Ho Chi Minh. Aside from organized fun runs, local towns participated in several initiatives like health seminars, the One Year in Mission initiative, and mental health programs.

Pham Nguyen To Phuong, after competing in multiple marathons, came up with the concept of doing a fun run. To Phuong is involved in numerous run-for-cause campaigns in Vietnam. This enables her to encourage the community to have a healthy lifestyle and participate in numerous Adventist activities. 

To Phuong recently participated in the I Will Go Ride, cycling to the General Conference Session from Washington, D.C., to St. Louis, Missouri, while passing out literature. Since she began cycling five years ago, she hasn't stopped. To Phuong recalled her old prayer: "Please, Lord, use my passion for your glory.” Since then, she set up initiatives through the Health Department to assist people in enhancing their lifestyles and building positive connections with others.

The original article was published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.