Seventy Hmong leaders met Feb. 19-21 at Bhumibol Dam Lake in Tak Province, Thailand, to be strengthened in the Word and equipped to share that Word with others.

Called workers, lay leaders, seminary students, and their wives attended this annual Hmong conference, held on two open-air, covered pontoons. “Meals, classes, and worship were held on one barge, and everyone slept on the floor of the second barge,” says Rev. Kenneth Pasch, missionary in Thailand.

Two Hmong pastors from the United States, Rev. Pheng Moua and Rev. Bounkeo Lor, along with Pasch led the conference. Moua conducted six worship services based on the theme “Following the footsteps of Jesus Christ.” Lor led leadership classes and Pasch taught a Bible study on John 21.

“The reason we were there was because . . . we want to encourage them with the message of salvation and equip them with some tools to work among their brothers and sisters,” says Moua, pastor at Immanuel Hmong, St. Paul, Minn. “This type of visit will energize them spiritually and will strengthen them to encourage each other.”

Moua’s wife, Chao Yang, also taught courses for the women—a first for this conference. “It gave the Hmong ladies a sense of security, vision, and opportunity to talk about women’s role within the congregation and serve as pastor’s wives,” says Moua.

The Hmong ministry in Thailand has a close connection to Hmong ministry in the United States, with Hmong missionaries from the States traveling to Thailand in the 1990s to share God’s Word with their family members, opening up opportunities for further gospel outreach. Moua says that being able to attend this conference was a wonderful way to maintain the relationship between those home and world ministries.

“It meant a whole world to us because we want to connect with the believers, leaders, and the church at large,” says Moua. “The WELS Hmong churches in Thailand and the United States is not two churches; it is one church beneath the cross. We speak the same language and were able to share life and faith together.”

The WELS mission in Thailand has 600 Hmong members in five congregations, four of which are served by national pastors. Ten men currently are studying at the seminary in Chiang Rai, Thailand; five will graduate this year.

Learn more about Hmong ministry at home and abroad in the March edition of Forward in Christ magazine.