NOWLeading Podcast: From Refugee to LCMS Pastor in Alaska

The NOWLeading Podcast is kicking off 2024 with an amazing new episode! This time you’ll hear the powerful story of Rev. Albino Kong of Anchorage, Alaska. He talks with NOW Start Network Cultivator Rev. Mike Von Behren about his journey as a refugee from Sudan to becoming an LCMS pastor and serving the immigrant community at Anchorage Lutheran Church.

“As a Sudanese pastor here, I have seen many of our Sudanese brothers and sisters struggling, especially with the transition from our culture to this culture,” Kong said. “With people being traumatized by the war, atrocities, the weather or the climate, raising children. Single parenting is a big one here, because with people coming to this country there’s a lot of culture shock. So many families are separating. So there are a lot of needs there.”

His hope is to find ways to help. Kong’s ministry path began as a lay person in 2013 and eventually led to him being ordained in 2020 through the EIIT (Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology) program at the St. Louis Seminary. The EIIT allowed him to study while being a father, working as a special education teacher, and leading ministry and missions in his community (he’s involved with several nonprofits). He commends the LCMS for this program, and he hopes to see more Sudanese people participate. He also hopes to see more encouragement and support for the Sudanese population.

As Kong said: “We need to work together. I know some people when they see a person from a different country or a different culture, they are hesitant to talk to them. But I would say if you have a Sudanese congregation in your church, just reach out to them, talk to them, ask them what their needs are. Also let them know about the EIIT program that is still going on at St. Louis. The more we get people in, the more we can spread the Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Refugee immigrants can be found in every state and, especially, every urban metro region of the Northwest. Their perseverance and dedication to family are an inspiration, and their growing communities are the source of many new ministry starts. This episode is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to Pastor Kong, and Pastor Kong’s joy and passion for Christ. It also serves as an inspiration for fostering understanding, collaboration, and spreading the Gospel across diverse communities. You will be challenged to step outside of your comfort zone and look for ways to reach out to new and different groups. Note: One way to support is through the NOW Leadership Initiative. Visit the NOW L.I. page and download the NOW L.I. toolkit on our website.

Listen to the full episode below.

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