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home : community : community Saturday, October 3, 2015

4/21/2010 Email this articlePrint this article 
Hmong Church Aims to Heal Community in Troubled Time

By Dai Thao

(L-R) Wayne Yang of Kansas City and Pastor Timothy (Txawj Teev) Vang. (Courtesy of Rev. Timothy (Txawj Teev) Vang)
Sunday service at The Hmong American Alliance Church in Maplewood, MN. (Courtesy of Rev. Timothy (Txawj Teev) Vang)
Maplewood, MN - Timothy (Txawj Teev) Vang is no stranger to strengthening Hmong families during times of uncertainty. He has been helping Hmong families for a long time. As Minnesota faces a seven billion dollar budget deficit, a housing crisis and the job shortage - Hmong families are feeling the impact. Stressors such as the loss of job or a home to foreclosure has hurt Hmong families financially and socially. There are different ways to deal with these stressors.

Reverend Vang, who is senior pastor at The Hmong American Alliance Church said, "We want to help Hmong families heal."

For the last few years the church has offered food and clothing to the Hmong community, especially to the new arrivals from Thailand. Many Hmong families came to pick up household items and food from the church's program. During Christmas, the youth participated in the Operation Christmas Child, providing gifts to children from low income families. The Hmong women volunteer for a project called Angel Trees serving low income families in partnership with the Gospel Union Mission. The women's group also visited and prayed for seniors at nursing homes.

Rev. Vang said his family became Christian while still in Laos. Family members would at time become ill and eventually his father ran out of money and animals to sacrifice to the spirits. His father didn't have many options. It wasn't until a distant uncle from Xieng Khoung told his father about Vajtswv's son Yexus. The uncle said, "If my father believed in Yexus, Yexus would heal the sick and protect us."

"My father told the uncle, he would have to think about it. He only knew Hmong traditional practice and not much about Yexus. Father called my two older brothers and they had a long meeting to discuss the faith of the family. My older brothers would support whatever decision father made. Two weeks later father made the decision to become Hmong Christian," said Rev. Vang.

Rev. Vang started his ministry in Appleton, Wisconsin. Some of the Hmong families formed a small church. He was not ordained at that time but they didn't have a pastor so he alternated with two other men, preaching on Sundays. He knew he needed higher education. He found a Bible College in Cincinnati, Ohio. The college offered him a full scholarship. He then moved his young family to attend the Bible College in the fall of 1980, graduating in 1984 with a bachelor's degree. He continued his education, earning the Master of Divinity degree from Canadian Theological Seminary in 1991 and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, in 1999.

On Saturday, May 22nd, Rev. Vang and the Hmong American Alliance Church will offer a conference for individuals and families. This will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Rev. Vang said, "We welcome all Christian and non-Christian families. We need each other to heal together."

The conference's theme is: Healing Broken Hearts-The Principle of Love. It will feature five seminars for: (1) married men; (2) married women; (3) single adults; (4) youth; and (5) single parents. The seminars will run from 9: 00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The evening programs will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. with a banquet, mini-concert and worship. The location is 2515 Maplewood Drive North, Maplewood, MN 55109.

The conference features local and national presenters who will provide tools to help individuals and families from the community deal with difficult issues. "We see ourselves in a community that is hurting from all different kinds of brokenness. Whether we are Hmong Christians or not, we experience the same brokenness and anxiety from losing our job, our home, and families that are torn apart."

To register or learn more about the Conference or general information, call Rev. Timothy Vang at 651-249-7844.

For facility rental, call Jerry Fong Vang at 651-230-2536.

For prayer and visitation, call Vaam Bee Yang at 651-210-0481.

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