By Faith Hoyt
The Pacific Union Conference recently presented special evangelism funds to a church in El Monte, Calif., whose outreach efforts within their city are bringing members and the local community together.
Elder Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, presented a $10,000 check on Sabbath morning, Aug. 31, to Vinh Nguyen, pastor of the El Monte Vietnamese church. The money was allocated from the Union’s evangelism fund—a fund used to support impactful ministry in the Pacific Southwest.
“Our short, one-day visit to the El Monte Vietnamese church was indeed an eye opener,” Graham said. “To see such a relatively numerically small membership involved in so many diverse outreaches to the community was inspiring.”
Outreach at El Monte includes the church’s language school, where American children and adults are taught Vietnamese; a printing press with the capacity to print full-size books in Vietnamese, as well as publications for 10 other language groups; and their worldwide outreach through various media broadcasts. “All of this is phenomenal,” Graham said.
El Monte, a city within Los Angeles County, has a population of over 116,000. After surveying the needs around them, the church decided to launch their outreach programs using a modest budget and simple infrastructure. One of their programs is bringing about both long-lasting involvement and participation from the community: an after-school tutoring program.
The church’s after-school children’s center operates in the late afternoons, Monday through Friday. Tutors at their center help young people with homework and to excel in school. “It’s a community program that happens on a day-to-day basis,” Nguyen said. “To us, education, especially for the children, is important. The parents care about it. We found a niche where we can build long-lasting relationships.”
According to Nguyen, the tutoring center also helps build bridges between the church and the local colleges. “Some college students need experience for their degree, so we hire them to help,” he shared. “In doing so, we connect them to the Adventist church.”
El Monte church members are dedicating time to support their local community on a daily basis, and though it takes a lot of commitment, they are finding the effort worth it. The evangelism funds from the Pacific Union will be used to supplement the budget of the after-school program, as well as to provide additional resources for other initiatives in El Monte.
“Together, pastor and members have sacrificed to enable God to use them hundreds of different ways to meet their community as well as contribute to the Adventist mission on a worldwide basis,” Graham remarked. “Audrey and I were so blessed to have been there, and we pray that their faithfulness to the vision God has given them will be realized in His time.”