Tag Archive for: Vietnam Hmong Outreach

Great gospel power in Vietnam

Dear Friend,

Jesus taught: “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade” (Mark 4:30-32).

In God’s kingdom, small beginnings lead to great endings. A person who examines the mustard seed through his own wisdom concludes, “This tiny seed cannot grow into the largest tree.” The person who examines the mustard seed through Jesus’ wisdom concludes, “The Lord will perform a miracle with this tiny seed. It will become the largest tree, just as he promised.”

With confidence in Jesus’ wisdom, we began the rural training program for the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam in a small way. While we were able to train 55 church leaders in the doctrines of God’s Word, we still did not have training for the many church members in the rural congregations. Could we use the small group to reach the large group?

Because of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 we could not continue the scheduled seminary classes in Hanoi. We decided to use online training for the new program of rural training. The 55 leaders met with us on Zoom to study the first course in the rural training program.

We met to study the gospel of Mark using the theme “In the Mighty Name of Jesus.” The students delighted to have a greater understanding of the mighty name of Jesus through this gospel’s history, miracles, and revelation of our salvation in Christ our Lord. By the end of class, they eagerly wanted to share this message with all the members of the Hmong Fellowship Church.

This happened when the small group of 55 leaders taught a larger group of 700 leaders. Those leaders in turn instructed the leaders of more congregations. Then the leaders of all the congregations shared the mighty name of Jesus to all 145,000 members in the Hmong Fellowship Church. The small beginning with 55 grew to a great ending with 145,000!

Since that time, we have taught many other courses in our rural training program. Eventually we will complete a curriculum of 30 courses. God be praised!

The many prayers and generous gifts for this ministry have allowed us to train 700 of the 1,400 church leaders we want to train. Support from WELS members provided travel, meals, and lodging to the leaders conducting the training. With the help of your gift today, we could expand the program to reach the 700 additional church leaders. Then, by God’s grace, we will have trained 1,400 leaders to reach all of the rural congregations of the Hmong Fellowship Church more quickly and efficiently.

During this season of Christmas joy, please consider making a gift of love to our Lord Jesus for our brothers and sisters in the Hmong Fellowship Church. Jesus will use his great gospel power to make our efforts, as small as a mustard seed, grow into the largest tree in his garden of grace.

Serving our newborn King,
Rev. Joel Nitz
Missionary in Vietnam

Prayer: Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—it is by your hand alone that we’ve been able to conduct gospel ministry in Vietnam. We praise you for letting us support the training of Hmong Fellowship Church leaders at the theological education center in Hanoi. Continue to bless this program that trains pastors, who then return to their congregations to teach other pastors and members. Thank you for giving the members of the Hmong Fellowship Church a love for your Word. May a similar spirit spread across the world so that your kingdom grows rapidly according to your will. Amen.

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Hmong Christmas celebrations

Dear Friend of Missions,

This Christmas as we worship our newborn King with family and friends, we would also like to share some of the beautiful Christmas traditions and celebrations of our Hmong brothers and sisters. In Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, the city comes alive with Christmas lights and decorations from November through December. People say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas” even though they have little idea that this holiday celebrates the birth of the world’s Savior, Jesus Christ. They celebrate Christmas as a winter festival from the world’s dominant Western culture.

But in the Hmong Christian community, they understand the true meaning of Christmas. They use some of the same decorations and lights as those who celebrate Christmas as a winter festival, however, they rejoice to know Jesus as the Light of the World who came to redeem all sinners. Their Christmas celebrations give thanks to God for the gift of his Son and celebrate the news announced by God’s angel: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

In early December, most Hmong Fellowship churches plan Christmas celebrations that include several choirs. The older generation sings traditional Hmong Christmas hymns, while the younger generation sings more contemporary songs, including ones familiar to WELS members. Church leaders also help the children perform a skit featuring a part of the Christmas account from Matthew or Luke. These words help the congregation remember the angel’s proclamation of good news to the shepherds and the visits of the shepherds and wise men to the baby Lord Jesus.

To share their Christmas joy, some congregations purchase small gifts for every member: a bag of candy or even new clothes for children. They give food or clothing to neighbors. Some larger congregations may even butcher a cow and invite the entire community to a feast in celebration of Jesus’ birth. In this way, many unbelievers will hear the Christmas story.

After the many joy-filled Christmas celebrations at church and in the community, Hmong families gather in their homes for Christmas dinner. They share and open Christmas gifts, and after midnight, the head of the family prays for and blesses the family and reads the Christmas accounts. The family often sings Christmas songs and gives thanks to the Lord for blessing them as the year comes to a close.

As you gather with family and friends this Christmas and give thanks for the priceless gift of Jesus, please pray for our Hmong Fellowship Church brothers and sisters. Ask God to continue to bless our outreach to the Hmong in Vietnam and consider a gift of support for these ongoing efforts.

Merry Christmas and God’s peace from the missionaries to the Hmong in Vietnam!

Rev. Bounkeo Lor and Rev. Joel Nitz

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Faces of Faith – Zag

“John 3:16 says that God loves me, but I did not see or understand it until I started my training. . . Now it is the most precious and special verse to me. God has revealed to me, ‘my love is here’.”

Meet Zag Yaj, a church leader in the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam who is in the second group of 60 students studying to be a pastor. Hear how this training has been “the most rewarding experience in his life” in this special Faces of Faith video.

Learn more about theological training and mission work with the Hmong in Vietnam at wels.net/vietnamhmongoutreach.

Faces of Faith – Num

“Before, I worked hard to earn grace, but I now know grace is free. God sent his son to die for us.”

Meet Num Ntxawg Yaj, a Hmong regional church leader in Vietnam who’s benefiting from WELS’ rural training program. He also began his pastoral studies in July 2023 as a member of the third cohort of students. Hear how this training has revealed the truth that sets him free in this special Faces of Faith video.

Learn more about theological training and mission work with the Hmong in Vietnam at wels.net/vietnam.

Faces of Faith – Huajvam

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4)

My name is Huajvam. I’m a Hmong Christian living in Vietnam. I personally witnessed the persecution of believers in my country. I really hated to see the way that they were treated. Then I came to realize that I, myself, also persecuted the members of my congregation through man-made rules and traditions. I punished those who didn’t follow them.

When the Lord struck the Apostle Paul from his horse, I am sure he felt ashamed to find out that the one whom he was persecuting was the Lord Jesus himself. I too, felt ashamed before my Lord Jesus. I claimed to be a believer of Christ, but I really trusted in my rules and traditions for my salvation, not Christ. I am the worst sinner! Only in Christ are my sins forgiven.

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceThen an unexpected change came into my life: the teaching from WELS. The biblical teaching that sinners are saved by God’s grace alone. WELS shared the teaching of Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fides. This pure teaching has changed me from head to toe. It gave me a new perspective about myself and my faith in Jesus. Now I am pressing on in the name of the Lord to challenge man-made rules and traditions in my community. Nowadays I only know one thing in my life, as the Apostle Paul said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Since this unexpected change has come, the Lord has tremendously blessed my ministry. People are coming to Christ daily through that message, a Christ-centered message. My district has gained more than 20,000 members in the last few years.

Praise the Lord for his love toward a sinner like me. Please continue to pray for the brothers and sisters in Vietnam.

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2020 blessings in Vietnam

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20b

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lord is always with his church. Our brothers and sisters in the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam are not stopping reaching out to lost souls. Pastor Zang said, “Most of the pastors in the Hmong Fellowship Church are farmers, and they know very little about germs. They have heard many scary things through television and radio about the impact of COVID-19, but they see it as less dangerous when compared to the lost souls that have no chance to hear the gospel before they die. The souls will be condemned eternally to hell without hearing the word of God.” In 2020, more than 12,000 have come to be believers in Jesus.

Pastor Fong burns a pagan altar

In 2020, Pastor Fong and his evangelism team reached out to many villages in his area. The Lord has blessed their outreach tremendously. They were able to establish nine new mission congregations in nearby villages. Fong said, “We proclaimed the Word and cast demons out of some people that were brought to us. The people had sought help from shamans in their community, but they couldn’t drive out the demons. In Christ’s name, we were able to drive out the demons and heal the sick.” Besides this, they also burned the pagan altars of the unbelievers to prove to the community that Christ has power to overcome Satan. In some cultures, you don’t dare to burn the altars in which sacrifices are offered to the devil because they think that they will bring curses to their family.

Despite the pandemic, the Lord has provided a way for the WELS to continue training the Hmong Fellowship Church church leaders. The last WELS trip to Vietnam was in January 2020. In November, the Vietnam mission team responded to the request of Hmong Fellowship Church and offered Zoom training to 57 students in Hanoi. Rev. Joel Nitz teaches the gospel of Mark and I teach Law and Gospel. The students are divided into two groups. Each group spends eight hours per week online. Due to poor Wi-Fi connections, some students have had to travel to the city to get a better connection. They have never utilized technology to assist in their ministry before. Instruction via Zoom is something new for them. It took me two days to guide the students in how to use the program. Praise be to God, they finally learned how to use it! Due to their excitement, some students have asked permission for their wives and parents to join our training as well. They are welcome in Christ’s name!

During the training. Rev. Nitz asked the students to recall the blessings in their lives given to them through Christ. Pastor Tsheej and Ntsuablooj said, “The biggest blessing in my life is the opportunity to be part of WELS training in Vietnam.” Pastor Nukhai said, “The more I learn from WELS, the more I feel like I know nothing about the Scriptures. There is so much to learn. If I look back to the last eight years, before I received WELS training, I saw a dark path in front of me. But now I see a clear path before and after me. I will dedicate my whole life to learning from WELS, God-willing.”

WELS’ teaching has helped the church leaders identify the false teaching in Vietnam. Thanks be to God for the well-trained pastors in WELS! The Hmong Fellowship Church has grown from 126,000 to 138,000 in 2020. To Christ alone be the glory!

Zoom training

The Hmong Fellowship Church has been tremendously blessed; however, there are also some big challenges ahead of them. More than 1,360 leaders are waiting for someone to train them in the Word of God. They are also waiting to build more churches for new believers to worship their Lord. Evangelism work is the priority for them. They are very skilled in doing evangelism in their community. With proper training and materials, these men will continue to share God’s word.

The building project in Vietnam is still active but has been delayed due to COVID-19. Once I visit Vietnam, I will arrange a Zoom or face-to-face meeting (God-willing) between WELS representatives and the representatives in Vietnam. The government also wants to make this project happen as quickly as possible.

Our brothers and sisters in Vietnam send their greetings and say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” to all WELS members. They appreciate your help and support, especially to train their leaders in the word of God. They also ask for your continued support and prayers.

Finally, I would also like to thank our members in WELS for your continued support for the work in Vietnam. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. May the Lord of the Church send more workers to harvest his fields. May the Lord continue to bless our leaders, members, and the work in the U.S. and around the world so that the lost souls may be saved through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Written by Rev. Bounkeo Lor, Hmong Asia ministry coordinator


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January 2020 Training in Hanoi

Sixty leaders and pastors of the Hmong Fellowship Church (HFC) of Vietnam met in Hanoi, Vietnam, January 6-21, 2020, to study homiletics (preaching), doctrine of the Word, and the Gospel of John. All who gathered, both the instructors and students, were blessed to learn new things from God’s Word, to be strengthened in faith, and to be equipped for ministry to others.

In addition to the three courses, this training session was marked by two special events:

Gospel Partnership Celebration: The leaders and students of the Hmong Fellowship Church requested that there be a special worship service to thank the Lord for seven years of partnership in the gospel. Bounkeo Lor came to Vietnam to meet with the Hmong Fellowship Church for the first time in 2013. During the past seven years, the relationship between their church and the WELS has grown and a full pastoral training program has been developed. Soon, Lord willing, ground will be broken for the construction of a training center which will enable the training of the many more pastors who are eager to learn. The special worship service focused on the blessings of the Triune God poured upon us. “From the fullness of his grace, he has blessed us with grace upon grace” (John 1:16). We gave thanks to the Lord for all his blessings, including the ways in which he has equipped and used Bounkeo Lor in this work. We sang songs of praise to the LORD and rededicated ourselves to faithful service to him and his people.

Teaching Assistants: The second group of 60 pastors will begin their training this year. Nine pastors from the first group have been chosen to serve as teaching assistants. They will assist with course preparation, classroom instruction, and assessment. The best way to learn is to teach. We are confident that these newly appointed assistants will serve well and learn much.

Students expressed their thanks once again to the people of WELS for supporting their ongoing theological training. They asked that WELS would continue to remember them in their prayers, asking especially that the Kingdom of God would continue to come to them and to many others through them.

From Professor Brad Wordell from the Pastoral Studies Institute

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