Laos Padlocks Another Church At Start of
April 6, 2012
KHAMNONSUNG, Laos – Laotian officials, who were in town for three-days of anti-Christian indoctrination, rounded up 136 local Christian families here during the Holy Week, and confiscated their church building on Good Friday eve.
Believers told the Southeast Asia director of Christian Aid Mission in Charlottesville, Virginia that they planned to continue Easter services in their homes despite government harassment.
“This is further confirmation that the Saybuli District officials have stepped up their persecution of Christians,” says a spokesperson for Christian Aid. “The local believers have asked us to tell their story despite the serious risks they face from armed Laotian officials.”
This is the fourth church in the Saybuli District of Savannakhet Province to be confiscated since the current wave of persecution began last September.
The Khannonsung Church has been thriving for decades and the current church building was constructed by the local believers in 1968, which was before the communists took control. Except for a brief effort to get believers to recant of their Christian faith from 2000-2002, the communists have allowed the church to remain open.
However, local Christians say the officials have discriminated against the Christian minority ever since taking over the district, harassing believers, and illegally arresting and detaining Christ-followers. Beginning last September, they started to evict Christians from their churches and homes and padlock buildings. To help, Christian Aid has sent support to Laotian believers evicted from their homes and churches.
In 2003, government officials confiscated the Katin church building and the believers met outside in the open air. In 2006, their Pastor was murdered but the believers continued to worship in their homes. Then in 2010 officials from the District Center disrupted the morning worship service of 48 Christian men, women, and children and forced them at gunpoint to walk three miles (six kilometers) from their homes where they were left along the roadside. Meanwhile, back in the village, other Lao authorities seized personal belongings from 11 homes and scattered them in an open field, and then destroyed 6 of their 11 bamboo homes.
Officials stationed police at the entrance of Katin village in order to keep Christian believers from returning. Unable to return to their village, all the men, women and children, were sleeping on the ground in the forest. They were left without food, extra clothing, shelter, or any means of survival.
Local ministry leaders tell us that incidents like the persecution in Katin are becoming more and more frequent.
“Our brethren in Laos have been enduring this kind of treatment for a long time and they need our help,” says a spokesman for Christian Aid Mission. Contributions received by Christian Aid were sent and will continue to be sent to ministry leaders who can reach and help these suffering victims of persecution in Laos.”
Pray that the believers in Laos will be greatly encouraged by our Lord Jesus Christ and that these government officials will open their hearts to the gospel. Pray that God will give wisdom to these believers as they cope with this situation. For more information about the situation in Laos, see: www.hrwlrf.net/
For more information about indigenous missions in Laos or to provide financial assistance to believers in Laos, contact Christian Aid at email@example.com.