“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace” (Colossians 1:6).
Colossians 1:6 served as the theme of our synod’s Grace-Hmong Outreach in Vietnam initiative that began December 2018. God’s grace and the gospel message has continued to work in the hearts of the Hmong people in Vietnam, and we are witnessing firsthand how the “gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world.” We celebrated with the Hmong Fellowship Church (HFC) in July 2023 as a group of 55 students graduated and became the first fully trained pastors in their church. We also praised God for the dedication of the new theological education center in Hanoi. God’s blessings on this effort are clearly evident.
And those blessings have not stopped. The small mustard seeds of the gospel continue to grow in ways we never could have imagined. Since 2018, the HFC has grown from 55,000 to more than 145,000 members. The second group of 60 students began their pastoral studies in 2022, and the third group of 60 pastoral students started in July of this year. Men like Num and Zag are learning how to differentiate between law and gospel and are sharing that freedom that comes from the gospel with those in their communities. It is the prayer that the Hmong Fellowship Church will enter into full fellowship with WELS in the relatively near future.
In addition to the seminary training being provided, a new rural training program developed by WELS missionaries Bounkeo Lor and Joel Nitz is training 700 rural church leaders in the basic truths of the Bible, with 700 more church leaders targeted for future training. Twelve of the new HFC graduates were commissioned to serve as instructors in the program, including Rev. Chong Chee Yang, who shared his experience in the December edition of Forward in Christ magazine.
God has opened an opportunity for WELS to support gospel outreach to more than two million Hmong who reside throughout Southeast Asia. We thank God for giving the members of the Hmong Fellowship Church a love for his Word and an eagerness to spread the gospel. We pray that a similar spirit spread across the world so that the Lord’s kingdom continues to grow according to his will!
Learn more at wels.net/vietnamhmongoutreach.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder