Just before Christmas, Loe*, a student, made the decision to become a Christian. He’s from a rural area in Laos, but had been studying in a local city – which is where he met some Christians and first heard about Jesus. Excited about his new faith, Loe went home and shared about Jesus with his friends and family. Incredibly, ten people decided to follow Loe’s example and became Christians too.
But within a month, just a few weeks ago, this small group of believers found themselves facing threats and intimidation from their local village elders. They were summoned to a meeting by the village chief. The whole village had come to support the elders. People were shouting: “Leave! You now belong to your Jesus, you are no longer allowed to live in this community!”
Faced with such pressure, some decided to say they were no longer Christians so they wouldn’t lose their homes. But others stood strong, refusing to go back on their choice to follow Jesus.
Their choice has left them in a precarious position. They’ve continued to receive threats and are being excluded by the rest of the community. The same threats are still being issued: deny Jesus or leave.
Laos is ranked at number 20 on this years’ Open Doors World Watch List. The country is ruled by the Communist party, and while Buddhism is an accepted religion as part of the country’s national heritage, other religions are seen as a threat. Christianity is seen as a Western ideology, and therefore hostile. House churches are considered ‘illegal gatherings’ and must operate in secret. The authorities use information from registered churches, which are government-controlled, and local leaders (mostly Buddhist monks) to put pressure on Christians.
Believers from Buddhist backgrounds are considered to have betrayed their Buddhist-animist community – just like Loe and his friends. They are frequently put under pressure by their own extended families.
Loe has asked that we pray specifically for these believers… Try praying this:
Father God, thank you for the brave faith of Loe and those that have chosen to follow you in this small village in Laos. Protect them from any harm. Even though they face pressure and opposition, I pray they will show Your love to their community and become pillars of light in their village. I pray for those that are persecuting Loe and his friends and family. I ask that that they will encounter You in an incredible way and they will have a change of heart, coming to know You and Your truth. Amen.
*Name changed for security reasons…
Want to learn more about, and get inspired by, the brave faith of Christians living in some of the places most opposed to following Jesus? Get our awesome new 2020 World Watch List prayer map and stickers – it’s free. Plus we have an awesome session outline for youth leaders which includes a massive A1 map too. Get them for free at the link below:
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.