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Christians in Laos Remain Steadfast – and Pay the Price

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.”

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Christians in Laos Face Hostile Police and Villagers

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.”

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Gospel Grows in Laos Despite Opposition

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.

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Eternal Fruit Born from Dying Grain in Laos

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.

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100-Year-Old Pastor a Balm amid Suffering in Laos

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.

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Demonic Force Locks Lao Man in Despair

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.

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Christians in Laos Are Denied Food for Following Christ

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.

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Obstacles, Opposition Come with Kingdom Expansion

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.

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June 30, 2022
A Syrian widow with several children had endured affliction before and after arriving as a refugee in Jordan. Islamic State (ISIS) invaders in Syria had seized her oldest son and, fearing they might take her other children, she and her husband had fled in 2013. Some of her children were able to help her husband in odd jobs he might find on the streets – until he was diagnosed with cancer.
June 23, 2022
A series of murders of children and young women prompted a three-day prayer event in a town in western Kenya. Church members and community leaders were praying for safety when a young man burst in and confessed to raping and killing six young women. The local missionaries and other leaders prayed for deliverance and salvation as the man’s anguished cries drew more people to the meeting tent – including some bent on lynching him and burning his body.
June 16, 2022
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.”
June 9, 2022
A shaman in Indonesia had quit his life as a robber and drug seller five years ago, but he still had no peace. Deeply troubled, he invited a worker and others from the ministry to his house to talk with him and his family about Christ. When the local missionaries showed up, they found 40 people at the house.
June 2, 2022
A young man in Iraq, Sami, and his father were descended from multiple generations of historic Christians, but during occupation by Islamist militants they had been forcibly converted to Islam. Such converts have trouble showing loyalty to a new caliphate, often refusing to join the fight to establish and expand it. Both men were subjected to torture; Sami told native missionaries in Europe that his father died trying to save him from the militants.
May 26, 2022
Amid conditions that seem to grow more apocalyptic every day, local missionaries in Latin America need either super-human stamina or otherworldly faith. A worker in Bolivia needed true grit to continue reaching out to a young man whose drunken rages had driven his family away. “Every time Pablo got drunk, he went home and hit his wife and children,” the leader of the native ministry said.
May 19, 2022
Local missionaries in Europe are counseling and praying with refugees from Ukraine traumatized by the invasion of their homeland. Besides needing food and other aid, many refugees have suffered the shocks of bombing and artillery fire since Russia invaded in late February. “Pray for their mothers and grandmothers who suffer because they have lost their loved ones, or have their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters or fathers in the war,” the leader of a local ministry said.
May 12, 2022
Like most refugees from Afghanistan, Gayana lived in a broken, drafty apartment with no means to keep out the winter cold. To keep herself and her small daughter warm, she had taken the last Bibles and other free Christian literature from a stand outside a church in the Middle East with the intention of burning them in her potbelly stove. “My house was cold, and my little girl was cold,” she said. “In the evening, I took the wood and tore off the Bible pages and threw them into the stove, and they started to burn.”
May 5, 2022
Kamal had been raised to become a mosque leader in such a strict Islamic home that his religiosity alienated even other Muslims. But since seeing an online ad stating, “God loves you,” he had been reading the Bible on the internet. The university student was in crisis.
April 28, 2022
Two Christian women told a visiting leader of a native ministry in Vietnam that when they lay in bed at night, they suffered deep dread as they felt the devil’s power – a sensation of cold going from their feet to their heads, cold sweats and uncontrollable shaking. In a country where some tribal people walk on burning coals to demonstrate the power of supernatural evil, the women were desperate for deliverance from demonic attacks. “Please pray for us,” one of the women said. “We don’t know what this is.”
April 21, 2022
In the five years that local missionaries provided aid to Syrian refugees, Zainab often asked why Christians would bother to help Muslims. In his discussions with them in a Middle Eastern country, the Muslim recently insisted the Bible was corrupted by changes over the centuries – but then he had a dream that both excited and horrified him. Having experienced Christ’s love from the local workers, Zainab was eager to tell the ministry leader about the dream.
April 14, 2022
In war-ravaged Burma (Myanmar), violence and the pandemic complicate local ministry efforts at a time when they are most needed. A worker recently told a ministry leader that local missionaries and their families had to flee their homes. “He told me that he was one of three pastors who fled with their families to the forest and stayed at a cave, trying to run to a village where they could stay temporarily,” the leader said. “His son, who was 19 years old, was killed by the terrorists.”
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