“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)
In 2002, Neng Lor, a WELS evangelist from a Hmong congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota, visited his extended family in Kansas City. The purpose of his visit was not only to connect with his family, but also to share the gospel with his relatives.
The Lors had belonged to a Christian church in the country of Laos since 1950. They were among the very first families in Laos to join Christian churches. In fact, many members of the Lor family had been serving as pastors and elders in the Christian Mission Alliance Church for decades. Something very big had been missing, however.
During his visit to Kansas City, Neng shared with his relatives what they had been missing. It was something they had never heard before: we are saved by grace, not by works. After the Lors heard that gospel from Neng, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to believe that sinners are saved by Christ alone.
The Lors of Kansas City felt the need to reach out to WELS for Christian fellowship. What they found was a church body excited to welcome and serve them. One congregation in particular, Rock of Ages of Kansas City, opened their arms to the Lor family. The Lors were like sons and daughters in Christ to the members of Rock of Ages. Bounkeo Lor remembers one member of Rock of Ages who gave up his “normal” church pew for the Lors. Bounkeo recalls that man saying, “I want to make sure that you feel warm and welcome in this church.”
In 2003, four of the Lor brothers began to study for the ministry through Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI), a gospel training program developed for non-traditional students. In that same year, Bounkeo Lor traveled to Thailand to visit and to share the gospel with the members of his father’s church. Bounkeo was so excited to know that sinners are saved by grace. He wanted his friends and relatives to know the peace and joy of the gospel. In 2006, one of the Lor brothers, Pastor Dewid Lor, was called to serve as a pastor in Thailand after graduating from the PSI program.
Through the generosity and outstretched arms of Rock of Ages, the Lord has tremendously blessed the Lors and many other Hmong families. The gospel has been spread from a few people, to hundreds, and from hundreds, to thousands. The ministry is extending to more parts of the United States and Southeast Asia.
The sweetness of the gospel compels more people to want to learn from WELS. They want to learn the unconditional gospel, so that they can bring the sweetness of the gospel back to their own people. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Luke 10:2)
Hmong believers now have their own WELS congregation in Kansas City. Grace Hmong has grown from a church of fifteen to just over one hundred members. Through mission offerings from WELS congregations and other grants, Grace Hmong was able to purchase its own church building. The ministry center will be dedicated on August 27, 2017.
May the Lord continue to bless the mission work of WELS so that more lost souls may hear the Word of God and may believe that Christ is their Lord and Savior! To God alone be the glory!
By Rev. Bounkeo Lor
Hmong Asian Ministry Coordinator