Karen Vo-To & Ut To
Karen Vo-To attended Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Canada, earning a BRE degree in pastoral studies. She received her MDiv from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. An ordained elder in the Detroit Annual Conference, Karen spent four years as an associate pastor at Cass Community UMC in Detroit. During that time, she served on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and the Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee. For four years she was president of Vietnamese United Methodist Women on the national level.
Karen's husband, Ut To, holds a BRE degree in pastoral studies from Tyndale University College and an MDiv degree from Ontario Theological Seminary, both in Toronto. He completed his DMin degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA, and a PhD from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. An ordained elder of the Detroit Annual Conference, Ut served 10 years as associate director of the Vietnamese United Methodist Ministry of the Michigan Area before he was commissioned as a GBGM missionary. Karen and Ut have two adult children, An To and David To. David has served as youth pastor with Chapel Hill UMC in Farmers Branch, TX, since 2004.
Karen and Ut serve as missionaries in Vietnam, planting new churches and working with government leaders and the General Board of Global Ministries to have the United Methodist Church in Vietnam recognized and registered, moving it from the underground into the open. Their work has resulted in the establishment of 162 new house churches. Karen's work focuses on recruiting women to study for pastoral ministry. She works with a women's support group to encourage them to “reach their full potential in Jesus Christ; to promote fellowship among women at the national level; to provide vehicles of communication for women, listening to and offering solutions for the women's needs; and to present the whole gospel to the whole person,” she says. Rev. Vo-To also serves as coordinator for the Women's Ministry. Ut trains Christian leaders in developing new congregations and nurturing Christians in the region. “I believe that through my teaching and example, I will prepare students for their future work as preachers, teachers, and pastors,” he says, “and through my witness many new congregations will be established.”
How You Can Help
Support of Ut and Karen will help provide leadership support to the emerging Church in Vietnam. Like all United Methodist missionaries, Karen and Ut are responsible for raising their own support through covenant relationships with individuals, groups, and congregations. To support Karen and Ut, you may give online here or send a check to Advance GCFA, PO Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068 with 'Karen Vo-To, #14174Z' or 'Ut To, #14175Z' in the Memo line.
Quynh-Hoa Nguyen was born in Vietnam and grew up in a Christian home in Danang. The fall of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975 brought major change to her family since her father had been a member of the South Vietnamese armed forces. He was placed in a “re-education” camp while she and the rest of the family went “through relocation, discrimination, and deprivation of college education.” The experience of being marginalized led her to seek God’s will for her and to discern a call to work with others in such circumstances. In 1998, Quynh-Hoa came to the United States to pursue academic and practical grounding in Christian theology and practice. She had earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Ho Chi Minh University of Education in 1994. In California, Quynh-Hoa received a Master of Divinity degree from the United Methodist-related Claremont School of Theology in 2003 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion from the Claremont Graduate University in 2013. During the years at Claremont, she worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Signifying Scriptures.
“My studies at Claremont brought into focus the study of scriptures in relation to people, especially non-dominant people. The shift of attention to people has allowed me to integrate into my work the people with whom I am concerned, who made up the early background of my formation as South Vietnamese and Christian. My years of study in the United States were a journey of faith, which I explored, discerned, and renewed my call as I prepared myself to bring the gospel home.”
Quynh-Hoa is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as director of leadership development of the United Methodist Mission in Southeast Asia. Launched in 2002, the Southeast Asia Mission has become one of the fastest-growing parts of the global mission network. To date, the work is concentrated in the central and south regions, with plans to expand into the north. One major need is for trained pastoral and lay leadership, and also for the development of indigenous trainers. Quynh-Hoa has special responsibilities in accomplishing these goals. The United Methodist Church in Southeast Asia has a center with training facilities and is moving toward official recognition. Quyhn-Hoa will be working with other United Methodist personnel in the country.
How You Can Help
Support of Quynh will help provide leadership support to the emerging Church in Vietnam. Like all United Methodist missionaries, Quynh is responsible for raising her own support through covenant relationships with individuals, groups, and congregations. To support Quynh, you may give online here or send a check to Advance GCFA, PO Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068 with 'Quynh-Hoa Nguyen #3021965' in the Memo line.