Laos: Church threatened while the nation celebrates
January is a month of celebration in Laos. An annual Buddhist festival known as Boun Pha Vet is celebrated all throughout Laos in January. The festivity commemorates the birth of Prince Vessanthara or Pha Vet, the penultimate existence of Buddha. In every temple in Laos, devotees recite the jataka or the story of the birth of Pha Vet. It is also the most auspicious time for Lao people to be ordained as monks. The celebration varies in dates from village to village so villagers can attend from one temple to another.
Alongside this festival, January 20th marks the commemoration of the creation of the independent Lao army which strengthened the domination of the Lao Communist Party.
During this time, however, there has been an upsurge in instances of persecution against believers, especially in northern Laos.
Families told to leave the village
In Kang* province, 15 families were chased out from their village and had to leave their homes and livelihood behind. Rice farming is their only source of income, and the families were forced to move to a very small piece of land where farming is impossible.
Authorities have given them orders to never return to their old village, as a result, these believers are forced to go to nearby villages to check if there are vacant fields where they could plant rice. However, such opportunities are very limited. Please pray for God’s provision for these believers.
In another province, five families have been following Christ since 2017. These families were reported to the district authority by their village chief after they refused to deny their faith in Christ. Some of these believers were imprisoned for two weeks.
Continuing to grow strong in faith
Despite threats from local authorities asking them to turn away from the Christian faith, these believers have continued to fellowship together. Local authorities further warned them to meet as a small family group so as to not attract attention. The believers then decided to divide the group into two home churches. Pray that they are able to continue to worship God without a problem. Pray also that God will grant the desires of their hearts that one day, in His time, they will be able to worship again together, as a much bigger house church.
During this month as celebrations in Laos continue, please remember this communist nation in your prayers.
Pray for the Buddhist devotees in Laos that they will come to know God and experience His saving grace.
Pray for believers who are living in areas where persecution is intense. May God continue to strengthen them.
Pray that the Lord will use and bring people to meet the needs of these believers. Pray that our brothers and sisters will be spiritually empowered but also helped to become financially stable.