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.
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.
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.
Relatives hostile to Christian faith, flooded roads that damage motorcycles, government restrictions on travel – all can instill fear in both native missionaries and new Christians in Laos.
In one of the world’s last bastions of communism, a 2016 religion law known as Decree 315 threatens to cripple efforts to spread the gospel. Gathering together, holding worship services, traveling and planting churches where none existed require prior permission.
Native missionaries are confronting a new level of fear and intimidation.
One of the things Nurul most disliked about the home for widows in Indonesia was the joy an elderly Christian woman there exuded. The 68-year-old Muslim could not stand that another widow, Amelia, could sing and smile so much in the home for widows and orphans. Besides having no money, Amelia had no children or other relatives to care for her, Nurul thought; was she demented?
People with cancer in Vietnam are not suffering through their painful treatments in clean hospitals with meals provided. From Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, cancer patients eat only what their families bring to dirt-laden hospitals that are so overcrowded that the sick are often lying in the hallways. To these people go native missionaries who bring the hope of Christ to people in physical, emotional and spiritual agony.