Our Pastor - Rev. Nhia Wahn Her
I am Rev. Nhia Wahn Her and I was born into a Christian family on March of 1962 in Laos. In 1975, the United States pulled out from the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia, after many years Laos finally was taken over by the communists. As my family attempts to escape the country, I struggled and suffered in the jungle as a thirteen year old gorilla soldier for three years. I was finally able to escape to Thailand and lived in the refugee camp for almost two years before coming to the United States in February, 1980.
When I arrived in Wheaton, Illinois, I was about to turn eighteen and could not speak any English at all. However, I was fortunate to be given the chance of a lifetime to attend high school starting at tenth grade. And I took full advantage of this wonderful opportunity to continue my education.
After graduating from college, Northern Illinois University, I went to France on a short term mission trip. When I came back from this trip, I felt God’s call to be in the ministry and decided to be equipped through attending Dallas Theological Seminary in the fall of 1989. A year later, I was licensed as a local pastor and appointed by the Hmong District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance to Arlington Hmong Alliance Church in Arlington, Texas. In November of 1997, I was called to serve First Hmong Baptist Church in Center Line, Michigan. I was ordained by the McComb District of the Michigan State Convention of the Southern Baptist Church in 1998, and was later appointed to Winona Hmong Baptist Church in Winona, Minnesota in June of 2000.
Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church had a vision, and it had already prepared for several years to start a Hmong ministry in Green Bay. In 2003, the District Superintendent of the Nicolet District, Hee Soo Jung (now Bishop of the United Methodist Wisconsin Conference) called and offered me the opportunity to lead the planting of this Hmong ministry. With much prayer, Mao and I accepted this wonderful life changing opportunity calling to serve with the United Methodist Church. At the same time, I had fulfilled all of the additional education requirements and have been accepted to be an elder in full connection with the Wisconsin Annual Conference in June, 2014.
Through this rare window of opportunity, my wife Mao is now the first ever Hmong woman to be appointed as the senior pastor of a congregation in the United States and the first Hmong woman to be ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church. This is history making! And I want to thank St. James UMC for your willingness to be part of this historic event by allowing Mao to be trained as a student pastor a few years ago.
Mao and I knew each other for a little over three months before we got married in August, 1990. We have been blessed with three children, one girl and two boys.
As a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will faithfully serve Him and His Church with all of my ability. I want to thank my God for graciously saving me from the jungle of Laos for a very special purpose. I also want to thank you for giving me, a Hmong pastor, the opportunity to be in ministry with you through one of the best and greatest Christian denominations in the world.
Pastor Nhia Wahn