Exclusive stories from the mission field
Accompanied by police and soldiers, a district official in Laos told Christians in a tribal village that those who refused to renounce Christ would be imprisoned. He was angry that they had refused to heed a prior warning to quit worshiping Christ. “Christianity is a western religion – it cannot be practiced in our country,” he told them. “I will give you one more chance to renounce Christ. If anyone still wants to believe in God, then just raise your hand.”
Police in Laos recently summoned the residents of six villages to make this announcement: “Since Christianity is a Western religion, any child under the age of 17 is not allowed to believe in Jesus.” “They later made a threat,” a native ministry leader said, “that if they found any Christians gathered in groups of five people or more, they would be nailed by their hands and feet, and then shot to death.”
Pei, a widow in Laos, was secretly discipled at a local missionary’s church for five months before she developed the strength of faith to tell her daughter and son-in-law about her conversion. “After saying only a few words about Jesus, both her daughter and son-in-law immediately began to violently criticize her,” the local ministry leader said.
Family members of a woman in Laos who died earlier this year had let her waste away in poverty, refusing to care for her because of her faith. Workers for a local ministry arranged her burial, inviting villagers they had ministered to in various community and gospel outreaches.
A 100-year-old church leader has long attended a local ministry’s training seminars, where he has encouraged others with his faithfulness in the face of persecution. “He has endured so much in his walk with the Lord, to the point that he was imprisoned eight times for his faith,” the native ministry leader said.
The way a businesswoman in Laos drew people to Christ was the way the salvation message often spread in the first century: redeemed merchants and traders planting gospel seeds as they went about their everyday business.
The parents of Kimsan, a 15-year-old boy in Laos, gathered up all his belongings, stuffed them into a bag and threw it at his face.
Filled with sorrow that his wife had left him, a young man in Laos was walking through Buddhist temple grounds when he felt something like a small bird hit him in the chest.
A strange strength came over him, and relatives said that later he became violent and unable to communicate coherently.
His parents and other villagers were unable to calm or communicate with him; they built a cage and locked him inside.
In a country where rice is already in short supply due to drought in some areas and flooding in others, those who follow Christ are even more threatened as officials withhold rations from those who have left the ancestral gods for Christ.
At the same time, villagers refuse to sell staple items to Christians.
Many villagers are torn between love of the Lord and need for food.