Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Joshua Van

Serving At: The Methodist Church in Southeast Asia

Home Country: United States of America, North America

Josh Van is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving among Vietnamese migrant workers in Southeast Asia. His work is coordinated with the Board of Mission of the Methodist Church (in Southeast Asia). He began service in January 2016.

There are 200,000 Vietnamese young adult migrant workers employed in factories and the food and hospitality industries in his region. The Trinity Annual Conference of the Methodist Church responded to the spiritual and social needs of this population in four urban areas: Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Johor Bahru, and Segamat. Services include basic health and legal referrals, language interpretation, and English-language courses. The workers hold worship services in their own language and host congregations invite them for fellowship and special celebrations. The outreach of an earlier Global Ministries missionary resulted in many Christian baptisms.

Josh, who has prior experience with Vietnamese migrants through another organization, serves as a link between the Vietnamese and The Methodist Church in Southeast Asia, which has about 100,000 members, and has its roots in the mission work of forerunners of The United Methodist Church. 

Josh is a citizen of the United States born in Vietnam and has lived in San Jose, California. He was a member of First Vietnamese United Methodist Church, San Jose, in the California-Nevada Annual Conference at the time of his entrance into mission service with Global Ministries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work from San Jose State University and also studies at Mt. Zion School of Ministry in Grantville, Pennsylvania and Evergreen Valley College in San Jose.

An immigrant to the US in 1989, he began attending a Vietnamese Baptist church in San Jose with his Christian father. Josh became “captivated by the love of Jesus” and at an early age dedicated his life to Christ, promising to spend his life “telling others about your love so they can be blessed as I am.”

After several years of study in the northeastern US, he served as an assistant pastor in a small congregation back in California, helped to plant a congregation in Virginia, and did a mission visit to see work among the Vietnamese migrants in Southeast Asia In October 2004 he returned as an independent missionary to Malaysia. The next year he met and married Mo Nguyen, a Vietnamese migrant there. The pending birth of their first child took them to Vietnam in 2006. The couple continued their mission in Vietnam for a year before transferring to the US in 2007.

Family visits to Vietnam in 2012 put Josh back into the mission environment and he again devoted his life to work among the Vietnamese migrants. From August 2012 through 2015, he led outreach ministries with Vietnamese contract workers at Meru Christian Church.

Josh and Mo have two children, David Tin, born in 2006, and Daniel Thieny, born in 2008.

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