Thanks to the faithful support of the LWML South Wisconsin District, the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) has translated and published a new resource for Gospel outreach to the Hmong people: Luther’s Small Catechism in both the White and Blue dialects.
The books are available, free of charge to the ministries that need them, by contacting LHF at (800)554-0723 or emailing LHF.
Since the mid-1970s, approximately 170,000 Hmong people have immigrated to the United States, primarily settling in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and California. Hmong communities have typically been very close-knit and committed to keeping their clan traditions alive.
For most, these traditions include practicing various forms of animism, where the people worship spirits of nature. Rituals and sacrifices are an important part of their customs.
“More than 85 percent of the Hmong community is primarily animist,” said Rev. Kou Seying, a Hmong pastor in California who was LHF’s lead translator on the catechism projects. “It is a very difficult group to reach with the Gospel since animism has such a strong hold on the Hmong people even here in America.”
Into this rocky soil, the seeds of the Gospel have been sown. After decades of outreach to the Hmong, faith in Jesus Christ has taken root in the hearts of many. LCMS churches in states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and California have established Hmong ministries, and there are even several Hmong pastors such as Rev. Seying.
However, until LHF’s recent publication of Luther’s Small Catechism and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, there wasn’t any Lutheran material available in the Hmong languages.
“The catechism will be used for confirmation classes, both youth and adult, and it is also will be used for our Hmong language school [here in California],” Rev. Seying said. “What a way to introduce students – the majority of whom are not yet Christians – to the Christian faith! In other words, the Hmong catechism has two-fold purpose: Christian nurturing and outreach.”
Funding for the printing of the Hmong White and Blue catechisms was provided by the LWML South Wisconsin District, which adopted the mission project at its 2012 convention. There are six LCMS congregations in Wisconsin that have Hmong outreach ministries, and each will receive catechisms from LHF.
“We at LHF are deeply grateful to the women of South Wisconsin who have so generously provided not only for this mission outreach to the Hmong, but to countless other missions that have shared the Good News of Jesus Christ all around the world for generations now,” said Rev. Matthew Heise, LHF executive director. “It’s truly amazing to consider how powerfully the Holy Spirit is working through their mites.”