As a young boy living in a small village in a restricted country in Southeast Asia, John Lee would hear Christian broadcasts on the radio in his small village. The messages were the only Christian broadcasts to reach his people, the Hmong, an isolated group of about 5 million people living mostly in the inaccessible highlands of Laos, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.
For years they believed that the lowlands were full of evil spirits that caused them to be sick. It was in these mountainous regions that John Lee came to faith through FEBC broadcasts. He later escaped from his home country to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1975, near the end of the Vietnam war that had swept through the region.
John Lee wanted his people to overcome the fear of evil spirits, because he had experienced a new truth that had given him a newfound peace—the truth of the Gospel. After leaving the Thailand refugee camp for the United States, he felt called by God to start working with FEBC as a radio broadcaster in La Mirada, California, to minister to his people by broadcasting into his country from afar.
Just as his life had been changed by FEBC broadcasts aired from Manila, Philippines, so John hoped other Hmong throughout Southeast Asia would come to know Christ through the broadcasts he helped produce. Little did he know just how effective God would be through him.
Mass Conversion of the Hmong
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, after years of broadcasting into Southeast Asia in faith, not knowing if the broadcasts were making a difference, John Lee started to receive startling information from the Vietnamese highlands. An article in a Vietnamese newspaper talked of a “mass Christianization” that had taken place because of Christian radio broadcasts.
A smile spread across John Lee’s face as he read the report. It went on to say that over 330,000 people had converted to Christianity because of the broadcasts they had been hearing through FEBC in their own heart language—the broadcasts that John Lee had been producing!
The Lamb’s Book of Life
With his wife, Pai, John Lee began to receive letters of testimonies and lists of names from Hmong people whose lives had been changed by FEBC.
Month after month, the lists of names kept flooding in, hand-written on yellowed parchment, page after page.
Flipping through each page, John’s eyes widened. So many people were doing something he could never have imagined years ago when he first felt the calling to join FEBC.
The lists consisted of thousands of people who wanted their names to be recorded in the “Lamb’s Book of Life,” who were committing their lives to Jesus—in writing.
This act had deep significance for the Hmong, as Christians in certain parts of Southeast Asia were being forced to sign their names to documents, which read:
“I recognize my beliefs are incorrect. I will not share my faith with others. I will not interact with my church, and I will not accept help from Christians.”
This list was a statement that the authorities had used to pressure new Christians to turn against their new faith. But now, the Hmong were courageously starting their own list—one that declared their allegiance to God on high.
Seeing so many Hmong commit in writing to follow Jesus Christ touched John deeply. His people were risking everything, because they knew the Good News they were hearing through FEBC broadcasts was the truth.