Members of the Global Hmong Committee were in Thailand Jan. 5-8 to join Hmong national pastors and lay leaders for a leader conference in Chiang Rai. The purpose of the conference was to share ministry developments both in Thailand and the United States, to introduce the concept of the Global Hmong Committee, and to discuss further opportunities on working together.
“Our Hmong brothers [in Thailand] were appreciative that we came to hear what they are doing and that we shared the purpose and background for the Global Hmong Committee,” says Rev. Keith Free, Home Mission administrator and chairman of the Global Hmong Committee.
This committee, authorized as a one-year pilot project by the Joint Mission Council in April 2015, “works with all Hmong ministry and is considering recommendations as to where funds for Hmong ministry should be spent,” says Free. Representatives from both Home and World Missions are on the committee, including two U.S. Hmong pastors. Developing committees like this signifies a new focus for the Joint Mission Council, which is working to minimize geographical borders and instead work on reaching a certain culture or “people group.”
While at the conference, the Global Hmong Committee shared its plan to call a Hmong Asian developer to work with Hmong congregations in Thailand and other Asian countries. This person would work with Missionary Ken Pasch, who currently is the mission’s field coordinator.
Free says that even though they have had seminary training, Hmong pastors in Thailand have little practical experience in being a pastor. Most also support themselves through farming and need guidance as they work to share the gospel with those in their villages. “It’s a good time to transition to having a Hmong-speaking individual who can help them take ministry to the next level,” says Free.
Besides working with Hmong pastors in Thailand, the Hmong Asian developer also will spend time training and working with Hmong contacts in Vietnam and East Asia. He will live in the United States and develop training materials when he isn’t traveling to Asia for his work.
Twenty-one Hmong pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders from Thailand and nearby areas attended the conference in January along with the Global Hmong Committee and several others. “My favorite part of the trip was the opening devotion,” says Free. “Even though I don’t know the Hmong language, it was singing the Hmong hymn that was projected on the screen and just being together with these brothers in Christ, realizing what they’ve all gone through and how the Lord has brought them into the Christian fellowship and how we’re Christian brothers.”
Worldwide in WELS, there are 25 Hmong pastors who serve eight ministries in the United States and 15 congregations and preaching stations in Thailand and the surrounding area.
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