Church receives thank you 40 years in the making

By Phil Miller

The following is not a Christmas story, but it is about giving and receiving … something we all need to know a bit more about.

St. James Lutheran Church received the following letter at the end of October. It’s from a Laotian family we had assisted with coming to America after the Vietnam War. Many of our members have since gone on, but many others remember them well.

Passed along as written:

October 20, 2016

Hello, St. James Lutheran Church:

It has been 40 years for us (the Yang Family) that you brought to this country by your love. You love us and sponsor us to Greenfield, in March 12, 1976.

Most of you may not remember us, but we all remember that you love us very much in many way. You sponsor our family while you didn’t even knew us. You give us shelter, foods, and clothes. You teach us to speak, you show us how to work, you took us were we needed to go. You keep us in a safe place.

Today I just want to send you a note to say thank you. Your Love is so large that we will not able to replay but I know our God is faithful, He was, is, and will continue blessing you.

You may want to know how our Yang family are doing with our life in the 40 years, and where are we now. Our family are now living in three different state (Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey).

You give us a new life a way of living in the USA, we appreciate you. Most of us still working accept Long and May Yang, they are the oldest in our family that you sponsor, and both of them are retired.

Lastly, thanks to God the Almighty one. We were not only get a new life in the USA, but many of us do received a new life in Christ. Most of our family member were convert to Christian, more than 50 families members accepted Jesus as our savior.

Thank to God, and thank all of you for loving the stranger.


Xai Yang

The Yangs came from Laos at the end of our Vietnam war, about the time their government was officially going communist. I don’t know the details on how they were picked by St. James or if there was some type of litmus test to permit the immigration, but I do know that too often, people and organizations do good things for others and never get feedback.

I also know that none of us get enough good feedback about ourselves in general. Over time that leads to being a bit jaded and less willing to help. We all need to keep in mind that whatever we do, we do make a difference.

Next time you are in a position to help someone and are wavering on whether it really does anyone any good, please remember the letter that St. James received. Please remember that time stretches out infinitely, and the good you do may not manifest itself for 40 years.

We may not get the desired feedback.

We may not hear about it for 40 years.

We may never hear anything at all.

But the point is that we always need to look for ways to help, to make life better for others. It may even brighten our own days a little bit.

Phil Miller of Greenfield is a former chair of the Hancock County Libertarian Party. He also served on the Greenfield City Council. Send comments to