by Betty Cooney
Translators representing Southern California Conference churches preaching in more than a dozen languages gathered at the El Monte Vietnamese Mission Center on March 13. The group came together for a rally and translation information session for the Pathway to Health mega clinic scheduled in Los Angeles at the end of April.
The NAD Ministerial Department invited Pastor Vinh and Cynthia Nguyen, El Monte Vietnamese church, to play the leading role in visioning and pulling together the various language-group leaders to explore how their people could best be reached. Pastor Vinh worked with a team of Vietnamese young adults to assemble translators for the various languages to serve patients at the mega clinic.
The NAD Ministerial team and the Immigration Ministries Refugee Committee, Pathway to Health and SCC helped with funding for the language initiative. James G. Lee, Jr., vice president, and Betty Cooney, SCC Communication director, worked with pastors and others from several language churches to translate the flyer for their various communities and to plan advertising.
NAD President Dan Jackson and Donna Jackson, Ministerial Spouses Association leader, attended the rally. “Last December Terri Saelee, NAD director of Refugee and Immigrant Adventist Ministries, and I began looking for a ministry project for NAD ministerial spouses,” said Donna Jackson. “We eventually decided that the 2016 Your Best Pathways to Health in Los Angeles could be an effective way to collaborate to minister to immigrants and refugees. Little did we know that conference leaders already had had similar thoughts and that Vinh himself already was convicted that the Pathway event provided a key opportunity for reaching many language groups.
“Vinh pulled together a small team of highly gifted and mission-oriented young professionals from his church who created a terrific organizational flow, overseen by Jessica Trinh. They used the app “Slack,” adapted for the work flow by Daniel Quach, to simultaneously communicate with all event leaders and managers, as well as interpreters. In addition to Trinh and Quach, Kristi Huynh and Moon Nguyen were actively involved in planning and organizing.
“At the rally,” added Mrs. Jackson, “Quach and Trinh rolled out the organizational plan and app. The response from language-group leaders was positive and inspiring — evidence to me that God is leading us unitedly to share Christ’s health and wholeness with His beloved children who have come to Los Angeles from many parts of the world.”
Elder Jackson and Trinh led in a dedication prayer for the translators. Vinh shared the importance of reaching every language and people in L. A. “Pathway to Health is a powerful way we can reach people through the health message,” he said.
“In particular, I have been involved with helping get translated flyers out, and it really has been a blessing for me,” reflected Quach. “This Pathway to Health experience enabled me to listen to stories of members from many of the various language churches in our conference. It reminded me that, despite all of us speaking different languages, we all have the goal to spread the gospel in the means we have possible.”
“I see the Holy Spirit’s potential to a reach a vast array of hearts in the ethnically diverse city of Los Angeles,” said Trinh. “Being able to speak a second language was an asset at Pathway to Health. If we just faithfully take hold of the opportunities in the work that lies nearest, by God’s divine power, it can have a global impact."
This article, used by permission, first appeared in the May, 2016 Pacific Union Recorder. Author, Betty Cooney, is the Communications Director of the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Photos by Hien Tran.