Young Hmong Christians Convene at U.S. Center
A special group of 88 young people between the ages of 15 and 22 met August 20-24 on the campus of the United States Center for World Mission. What made this group special is the fact that these young people were Hmong Christians refugees from Laos and Thailand.
They came from many parts of Southern California to study the Bible and to discuss various aspects of the Christian life. According to Ernie Heimbach, coordinator of the conference, there was a strong desire among the group to grow into maturity as Christians.
The Hmong people are a part of the growing Hmong church in the United States. There are several thousand Christians among the approximately 15,000 Hmong residents living in this country. Most of the 30 Hmong congregations in the U.S. are affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
The Conference was led by Ly Chong, Hmong pastor who also works with the Far Eastern Broadcasting Company, preparing radio broadcasts to be aired to Hmong speaking people in Southeast Asia.
Many Hmong are in America as a result of one of the most massive people relocations in history, due to the political upheavals in Southeast Asia in recent years.
The Hmongs are also called the Mjao in southwest China, where the China Inland Mission had established a thriving work before the Communist Revolution. NonChristian Mjao have filtered into North Vietnam, north Laos, north Thailand, and east Burma over the past 100 years. They were instrumental to the French and Americans in guerrilla warfare against the communists in Laos.
In June 1951, the Laotian Hmong first had opportunity to hear the Gospel through tribespeople and missionaries from CMA a Bible school was established in Vientiane, Laos and Hmong people began to carry the Gospel to their kinsmen.
After the 1975 communist takeover of Laos, the policy of the new government was to exterminate the Hmong people by any available means. By 1978, 55,000 Hmong had fled to Thailand where they entered resettlement camps on the Thai Laos border. They have been coming to the U . S. from Thailand and Laos since 1976.
Now, Hmong believers continue to minister to their own people in their new homeland.