Pastor Yauo Yang spoke at the Wausau American Legion Post 10 meeting on February 15, 2022 at Bunkers Restaurant in Wausau. Pastor Yang spoke about his family, war experiences, education, work and his love to help people.
Pastor Yauo was born in a refugee camp called Ban Vinai in Thailand. He lived in the camp for seven years with his family. Yauo’s parents lived in Laos during the Vietnam war. They had to escape from Laos in 1980. His three older siblings passed away while they were trying to flee Laos. His mother was pregnant with him while running through the jungles of Laos to get into the refugee camps in Thailand. In 1987, they were granted permission to come to the United States.
Yauo attended UW-Stevens Point and majored in Communications because he wanted to go into television broadcasting. He enlisted in the military in 2002, even though he didn’t have his U.S. citizenship. He still thought he was an American and this was the right thing to do. Yauo signed up for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and in 2003 he went to boot camp at Fort Benning, Georga. He was activated to go and fight in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On a routine mission, he lost a close staff sergeant friend because of an IED explosion. That was a life changing experience and he asked God to protect him for the rest of his deployment.
When he came back from the war, he graduated with a teaching degree and taught in the DC Everest School District for 13 years.
God protected Yauo that night in Iraq and now it was time for him to something in return. Yauo started the church called “The Cross,” now located on Grand Avenue in Schofield. He wanted a different kind of church. It is a multi-ethnic and non-denominational church. Today, the members of the church consist of individuals that are homeless, released from jail, unemployed or have addiction issues. Yauo goes to the Marathon County jail twice a week to conduct Bible studies with the inmates. Today, he is the Executive Director of The Gospel TLC. This organization will provide a long-term residential facility for the addicted and broken in our community.
Story and Photo courtesy of Mike Heilmann