"I don’t know about the future, but I do know that right now I am where I should be."
- Pastor Christopher Thao
From time to time we'll be highlighting members of our CPD family to get to know them better. The questions and answers below are from an interview with Pastor Christopher Thao at Eternal Life Church in Sacramento, CA.
Please give us a brief introduction.
Born and raised in Laos, I came to America as a refugee in 1976. My wife, Sylvia, and I were married in 1981. We are proud parents of seven children and ten grandchildren. Our two youngest children are with us in Elk Grove, CA.
What drew you into full-time ministry?
I had been a practicing lawyer for nine years when the Lord called me into the ministry. I was driving on I-94 from Minnesota to Wisconsin to try a case, and the Lord spoke to me. In a split second, he revealed my sins to me and told me that because of them, he could not use me. I confessed my sins and committed to follow him.
The Lord led me back to Bethel Seminary for a master’s degree and Luther Seminary for a PhD in New Testament. At the time, everyone was telling me that the Lord was leading me into teaching, but instead he sent me to the church in 2002. I served in the Hmong District until 2017, when I was called to pastor Eternal Life Church. I am delighted to be at ELC and will be here for as long as the Lord wants.
Tell us about the church you’re in.
Eternal Life Church is a multi-ethnic congregation. Its members include Hmong, Mien, Vietnamese, Lao, Whites and Blacks. Our services are in English and Hmong. It has grown since its inception eight years ago. Now our facility is too small. Our weekly children attendance is about 70!
What are you most passionate about in your ministry?
The Lord has given me two passions; both centered on the Bible. Translating the Greek NT into Hmong has occupied much of my ministry and I am hopeful that the editing will be complete soon, so that Hmong pastors and leaders here and overseas can use it.
When I entered the pastorate in 2002, the Lord revealed to me that churchgoers remember the good illustrations but not the biblical texts from which sermons are based. At the same time, personality cult in the church has overshadowed the Word. Thus, I became passionate about the Word.
What are you dreaming about for the future?
Frankly, I don’t know about the future, but I do know that right now I am where I should be. A year ago, a family came to our church. The parents were divorced but God has been working to bring them together. At the worse day of his life, the man was riding his bike by our facility. As he was crying to God he said, “God, if you are real, please help me to be with my wife and children, again.” Then, he fell from his bike. Taking a few steps further, he found a new and unopened bottle of water. He drank it and marked the front of the church. After he was reunited with his wife and children, they decided to go to church. His wife knew about our church through her co-worker. So, when they arrived for worship on that first Sunday, the man broke in tears.
How can we pray for you?
For us to remain faithful. We have also outgrown our building and need the Lord’s wisdom in expanding our ministry.
We would love to be able to share your thoughts with our CPD family. If you write a blog, or do other forms of writing, we'd like to consider utilizing you as a guest blogger. Please contact us if you're interested!