Two weeks ago, it was my honor to preach at the ordination and installation of Phetsamone Vannavong, who has been called to serve as pastor (alongside of Pastor Donna Brown--who is pictured to the right of Phetsamone and his wife, Inthaly in the photo) of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I served from 2000-2005.
Phetsamone came to St. Paul's in the fall of 2001 with the desire to reach out with the gospel to the Lao immigrant population in Milwaukee. In 2002, St. Paul's voted to establish a Lao Ministry as part of their neighborhood outreach. Phetsamone was hired as part-time minister to the Lao community in Milwaukee while preparing for ordination in the ELCA through the TEEM (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries) process. It was wonderful to be a part of the beginning of this ministry at St. Paul's which under Phetsamone's leadership is steadily growing. My prayers are with him, Inthaly, Donna, and the Lao- and English-speaking members of St. Paul's as they continue to respond in faith to Jesus' command to "Go and make disciples of all nations!"