There are two million Vietnamese people living in the United States, yet there are only 17 Vietnamese congregations and three full-time pastors. For every 2,000 Vietnamese in the U.S., there is only one Adventist. “How can we reach all these people?” thought El Monte Vietnamese church Pastor Vinh Nguyen.
Vietnamese people from throughout the country came together for the inauguration of the Vietnamese School of Evangelism this fall at the El Monte Vietnamese church. Many across North America and Vietnam watched on live stream.
Nguyen shared a burden that God placed on his heart. “I feel the call of God to shift from pastoring to training,” he said. “When a pastor retires, what happens to the next generation? Will the Vietnamese churches go downhill because there is no leader?”
“Some people call the new building recently built on the El Monte church property a community center or multi-purpose room, but I call it a ‘mission center,’” Nguyen continued. “Everyone is here because someone was trained to share the gospel with you. Now we need to finish the work. God expects us to think big and reach every Vietnamese person in the world!”
The school will be conducted in person at the beginning of every quarter and via a virtual classroom twice a week for the remainder of the quarter. The full school course will be three and a half years, the same amount of time that Jesus trained his disciples. Courses will include practical theology, health, and character development.
At the inauguration, José Cortes Jr., North American Division associate director of evangelism, gave the main address. He shared two foundational points for every gospel worker to remember. The first was God loves you. “God knows all our imperfections, yet He still loves us,” he said. The second point was to love others. “People loved Jesus because Jesus loved people!” Cortes said.
John H. Cress, Southern California Conference executive secretary, gave the charge to the school’s first class of students. His words were inspired by the book, Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee. “‘Sit’ means to be secure in Jesus; rest in your salvation,” Cress explained. “‘Walk’ for we are His workmanship. ‘Stand’ and be strong, for the enemy will try to defeat you.”