In August, authorities in Nongdaeng village in Laos ordered 11 families to recant their Christian faith or face expulsion from their community. The 50 men, women, and children were charged with “believing the religion of a foreign Western power”—an act which is considered destructive to the country´s Buddhist and animist traditions. The individuals were given 72 hours to comply, but chose instead to continue practicing their faith and to meet for a worship service the next day in one of the believers´ homes. A similar incident took place in February when a couple in their 50s was evicted from their home village after converting to Christianity.

Although the Lao constitution provides for some measure of religious freedom, local and regional leaders impose their own set of rules or restrictions. Yet the Christian church is growing despite discrimination and social pressures. A Lao ministry assisted by Christian Aid is working in rural areas to disciple new believers and to establish small fellowships.

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