By: Christa Meland
Rev. Daniel Yang has served in many places around the world: The Minnesota elder is from Laos, and he spent seven years at Hamline UMC and 15 years at Wheelock UMC, both in St. Paul. Three years ago, Wisconsin Bishop Hee-Soo Jung asked him to serve at Christway UMC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he’s been there ever since. But he’s taught course of study in Vietnam and a Global Ministries class in Thailand.
Yang said he feels called to return to Southeast Asia to help its people come to know Jesus, and he will go to Laos in July to start new churches and to train and equip leaders to share the gospel.
During Thursday morning worship at General Conference, Yang was among 29 people commissioned as missionaries through Global Ministries. This is the first time that missionaries have been blessed and sent before the full General Conference body.
“They come from many places and go to many lands, taking the gospel of Jesus Christ from everywhere to everywhere,” Global Ministries General Secretary Thomas Kemper said just before the commissioning. “They are not saviors, they are Spirit-led servants. They are sent on behalf of The United Methodist Church and as a sign of our commitment to be engaged in God’s mission for the transformation of the world.”
One by one, the missionaries knelt on a bench, and a bishop placed hands on each. “Daniel, I commission you to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world,” North Carolina Bishop Hope Morgan Ward told Yang.
Yang, who is married and has six adult children, said he’s committed to teaching the people of Laos about The United Methodist Church and its theology, polity, history, and Social Principles.
“I feel that mission work is really important, not only in the local church but also overseas,” he said. “I feel that a lot of people in Vietnam and Laos still need to know about the good news. They’re very hungry for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…I feel it’s very important for them to grow in a Wesleyan tradition.”
Yang is passionate about reaching new people, and he has a strong track record of doing just that. When he arrived at Christway UMC in 2013, weekly worship attendance was about 150. Now it averages close to 300, and Christway is one of the largest Hmong churches in the United States.
Yang said there are currently about 66 house churches in Laos. He hopes to grow that number to 120 by 2020.
The Minnesota Conference has direct ties to Southeast Asia. Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough was also bishop of the Southeast Asia Mission—which includes Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand—from 2010 to 2015, and the Minnesota Conference currently has a partnership with United Methodist missionaries in Vietnam in order to help foster an abundant life for Vietnamese children.
Minnesota United Methodist churches can support Yang through prayer, financial contributions, and friendship. He hopes to form a covenant relationship with some Minnesota churches—and looks forward to visiting them when he itinerates in the United States.
“My hope is to educate Laotian people that The United Methodist Church has open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” he said.
Learn more about Rev. Daniel Yang / Support Rev. Daniel Yang financially
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church