God continues to bless WELS’ outreach efforts in Vietnam, despite challenges and unexpected setbacks.
In October, WELS leaders were able to travel to Vietnam for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions halted international travel in March 2020. This trip allowed them to conduct needed in-person discussions about the theological education center being built in Hanoi for the training of leaders in the Hmong Fellowship Church. If all goes as planned, WELS World Missions’ goal is to have the center open by Easter 2022, pending no other COVID-19 complications. Pictured are (left to right) Terry Schultz, artistic development missionary for Multi-Language Productions; Ger Lor, Hmong pastor; Bounkeo Lor, Hmong Asia ministry coordinator; and Sean Young, director of Missions operations.
Also in October, Joel Nitz (pictured) traveled to Vietnam for the first time since he was called to serve the Hmong in Vietnam in February 2020. Unfortunately, he still was not able to teach courses in person due to COVID restrictions, but he prays he will meet his students face to face on his next visit. During the 18 months when he could not travel to Vietnam, Nitz took classes to learn the Hmong language, wrote courses for use in rural congregations, and taught several classes online to Hmong church leaders.
The Holy Spirit brought more than 12,000 Hmong people throughout Vietnam to faith in Jesus in 2020. Several new churches were built in 2021, including this one in Lai Chao.
Leaders in the Hmong Fellowship Church are able to continue their training in God’s Word through online classes. In November 2020, WELS Missions provided phones and Internet access to the 57 Hmong leaders who have been receiving regular training so classes could be offered through Zoom. “The Hmong Fellowship Church leaders remain extremely grateful for all the instruction they have and will receive from WELS,” says Nitz. “Their gratitude shows in their eagerness to learn more. Most of the students work small farms for their livelihood, yet they devote many hours to the study of God’s Word. They willingly sit in a Zoom room for a four-hour class so they can advance their gospel knowledge.”
These 57 Hmong leaders are teaching others in the rural districts of Vietnam what they learned. Nitz shares that this is part of a new training program that focuses on teaching Bible studies that church leaders will use in the congregations. “I am excited to create new courses for our program to train the 138,000 members in the rural congregations. We have 30 courses planned,” says Nitz. “It will take years to implement the program, but it will produce blessings for the congregations of the Hmong Fellowship Church for a long time.”
Learn more at wels.net/vietnamhmongoutreach.
Volume 108, Number 12
Issue: December 2021