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Southeast Asian Christians Celebrate Uniqueness in Diversity

( [email protected] ) Jun 04, 2007 07:05 AM EDT
Southeast Asian Christians from all over the nation celebrated diversity at a conference with discussions and performances, Saturday.
A few participants gather for prayer near the stage at the Southeast Asian American Worship Renewal and Leadership Conference, Saturday, June 2, 2007

Southeast Asian Christians from all over the nation celebrated diversity at a conference with discussions on family traditions, multicultural and youth ministry and leadership development, Saturday.

The Southeast Asian American Worship Renewal and Leadership Conference attracted almost 40 ministry leaders, workers and youth of various ethnicities including Laotians, Cambodians, Vietnamese and Ethnic-Chinese.

Other participants included Asian Americans of Japanese and Korean descent as well as Caucasian missionaries involved with outreaching to Asian.

“We celebrate our uniqueness for He [God] has created us for a reason” said Ken Kong, director of the Southeast Asian Committee (SEAC), which had organized the gathering.

“God set us up as a foundation. We are bilingual and through us we can save out own people,” Kong added.

Kong urged Asian American youth to remember and honor the sacrifice of their parents – many of whom are first generation Americans.

No stranger to hardships himself, Kong left Cambodia as a child, surviving the brutal Communist-backed Khmer Rouge regime. As the second child, Kong lost his older brother to starvation before coming to American with his mother.

On Friday night, participants placed offering including Asiatic fruit on a communion table to thank God and pay homage to the sacrifice of the elders.

“I found out about the struggles of Mom, Dad, Granddad and Grandma. I did a lot of research to know everything about my home’s culture, tradition and food,” said Elizabeth Chhom, SEAC Music Coordinator, during a lull in the worship.

Referring to a passage from Psalm 139:16, Chhom added that God created his “masterpiece in everyone” and that Christians of all ethnicities should never “lose this identification.”

The conference included workshops on leadership and ministry as well as an “open mic” talent show. Participants also held round-table discussions about current ethnic and racial issues confronting Asian American Christians today.

Last year, SEAC organized its first large gathering Southeast Asian Leadership Summit (SEALS) in Long Beach, CA.

The next SEALS gathering will be held in Washington, D.C., in March of next year.