“Children of the Mountains” Concentrated in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the Montagnards (pronounced MONT’-an-yards) are comprised of many different ethnic, cultural, and political groups from the Vietnamese and experience oppression because of their uniqueness.

At First Christian Church, three distinct groups with three languages are present: the Bunong, the Ede and the Jarai.

FCC-Three indigenous peoples of Vietnam
Three indigenous peoples of Vietnam who have become a wonderful addition to our faith community.

Why They Left Vietnam

FCC-Why They Left Vietnam

While the Montagnards have traditionally been a peace-loving people, their situation has put them at odds with their government and eventually they fought against the Vietnamese Communists and alongside the U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War.

For many years, the Montagnards have been persecuted for political, ethnic, and religious reasons. The group that worships with us at First Christian Church came to the U.S. in order to be free to practice the Christian faith without risking their lives to do so. Many in our group still have family and dear friends in Vietnam who live in constant danger.

Many Montagnards were resettled here in North Carolina with the help of the U.S. Department of State because of the debt owed to them by the American people and the struggle endured by them in their homeland in part due to their service to help our soldiers.

FCC-How God brought Them to First Christian Church
FCC-Luar Siu

How God brought Them to First Christian Church

In November of 2008, a man named Luar Siu Was sent by his community to look for a place to worship. He heard the chimes from The FCC bell tower playing a familiar hymn. He realized this was a sign from God and eventually brought a large group of Montagnard people with him to become part of our faith community.

Our veterans were the ones who knew the Montagnards the best and understood the persecution the Montagnard community faced while living in Vietnam—largely due to their friendship with Americans during the Vietnam War. These veterans and many others made a point to sit with and interact with our new visitors to show their gratitude for our longtime connection that has spanned generations.

For seven years, there were three language groups meeting together with us in our mostly English services: Jrai, Bunong, and Ede. Remnants of all these groups are evident in our community even today.



In the ​​year 2015, a large segment of the Jrai speaking group, led by Nglol Rahlan, decided to act on the dream of worshiping together in the Jrai language, beginning “First Christian Church”, or “Dao Blung Hlao” as translation into Jrai. This community of faith is an outreach of Disciples thought and practice while also incorporating Jrai traditions language and music. This communication of faith maintains its connection to First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Dao Blung Hlao worships at 10 am the 3rd floor of our Christian Education.

There’s a lot of hugging and handshaking. And all of us are learning a great deal—about faith, about love, and about what it means to claim God at the center of one’s life, even if it means hardship or leaving everything behind.

We are no longer a typical church. For this, we are grateful. We are living out a unique calling at First Christian Church and learning all about blessing because of it.