Dylan | Tim
| Sarah M.
The first stop on the Hmong Cultural
tour was at a Hmong Christian Church in Wausau. Reverend Herr
told us that the first Hmong people were converted to Christianity
in 1950 in Laos. He had been raised Christian in Laos. When
the Hmong converted, they kept the traditions of New Year’s
and the annual Harvest festival. They also still do traditional
sewing and needlework, and keep the same clan rules as traditional
In the normal services they use instruments like the guitar
and drums and piano, and sing a lot of songs like "Amazing
Grace" and "The More We Get Together." They
have Sunday school. The main room where they preach and pray
and hold ceremonies is a lot like any other church’s
main room I have been to.
Their traditional services are mostly done in Hmong. Reverend
Herr said a lot of the elders attend the traditional services.
The church still sends out missionaries to countries like
Laos and Thailand. The missionaries are the ones who translated
the songs they sing into the Hmong language.
banner at the front of the main room says “The Christians
are the Light of the World.” It seems like Reverend
Herr likes being Christian a lot, and also respects the traditional
When Hmong people convert to Christianity,
most of them think it’s absolute (and so did I) meaning
that they thought if they converted they couldn’t practice
anything traditional. Not so. The church even has a Hmong
New Year. The church has two services—one traditional
and one contemporary. Most of the older action goes to the
traditional service. The traditional service is given in Hmong
and has a slower pace. The contemporary services are given
in English and have a faster pace.
Many Hmong in Wisconsin are members
of this church, as it was the first Hmong Christian church.
After converting a person to Christianity, the church tries
to slowly let go of the beliefs and traditions of traditional
Hmong. For example, the belief in spirits is replaced with
the belief in God. Even so, the church still celebrates Hmong
New Year, because that’s a tradition that just cannot
be let go of.
Reverend Herr told us about two different services. The
traditional service has more praying and moves at a slower
pace, and is usually done in Hmong. The contemporary service,
on the other hand, is completely in English, sings American
songs, and moves at a faster pace. Reverend Herr says the
number of people who attend each is the same but that older
people tend to go to the traditional service. Aside from the
two main services, they have Sunday school, a time where kids
can come and learn about being Christian. They have videos
about God and Jesus and curriculum pages like “a place
in God’s plan.” The kids all do a lesson and sometimes
they watch videos, sing songs, or play games.
Adults sing songs, too, such as "Amazing Grace."
The contemporary Service usually sings them in English, while
the songs are translated into Hmong at the traditional service.
This experience helped me understand that Hmong can be all
kinds of religions other than Hmong, including Jewish, Christian,
and even others. Even if they aren’t playing the keng
or talking with spirits through Shamanism, the Hmong can still
get together and sing and pray, be it to spirits in traditional
Hmong culture or to God in Christian culture.