Burmese congregation joins Washington church

Ceu Ling arrived in the U.S. from the Chin State in western Burma, now the country of Myanmar, in April 2007.

Two months later, Sang Lian, with his wife and son, arrived in the Spokane, Washington, area.

Cung Ceih and Sui arrived September 11 of that year, followed by Lai Len Thang’s family of four on September 13 and Clement Ling’s family on September 20. 

These families were the founding members of the Chin Church, which officially became part of Spokane First Church of the Nazarene on Sunday.

Ceu Ling loved Jesus and wanted to attend church, but he had to work on Sunday mornings.

He and the new Chin State arrivals formed a church that worshipped Sunday nights at the World Relief office in Spokane. World Relief is a Christian organization that responds to humanitarian crises and helps resettle victims of war and persecution.

Within the first year of the church’s existence, two more Chin State arrivals, Saw Hu and Nawl Tling, joined the church.

During the church’s second year, two more families and 21 people, mostly single adults and young married couples from Myanmar, joined the congregation.

In May 2008, Pastor Duh Ceu arrived in the U.S. and became leader of the Spokane Chin Church. By August, the church moved to Spokane First Church and Ceu organized a leadership team and developed church guidelines.

The church continued to grow with new members as Spokane’s Burmese population added 127 people in 2009 and 138 in 2010.

Pastor Stan Unseth, who with his wife, Linda, helped prepare the Chin congregation for membership into Spokane First Church, said the members are wonderful, consisting of a strong group of young people – lots of babies and growing families.

Clement Ling’s family now has three generations – grandparents, children, and a grandson – in the Chin congregation.

During a meeting in August, Chin leadership decided to join the Church of the Nazarene. Also, Pastor David Bon stepped forward to continue the American connection with the Chin congregation because Stan and Linda Unseth planned to move to Kennewick, Washington.

Leaders also encouraged Pastor Lian Cung Hu to secure his Bible School transcript from Myanmar in order to enter the ministerial track in the Church of the Nazarene with the first step of a local preacher’s license.

Pastor Hu now has his transcript for review.

Last Sunday, Pastor Hu and Spokane First Senior Pastor Bill Vaughn officiated the new membership ceremony.

“It was a glorious service as Chin and Americans celebrated membership, communion, and a worship service together,” Unseth said.
–Northwest District Church of the Nazarene

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