Good News for Those Spreading Good News
The scenario of tribal animists coming to Christ and being expelled from their village has played out time and again in Laos, but this time was different.
Amazingly, district officials went to the village heads and told them to stop persecuting the Christians. They were able to remain in their homes and continue worshipping.
“Pray for more of this all over the country!” said the leader of the native ministry who oversaw the growth of a house church in the village. “Pray for the Christians who are facing persecution. Pray that they will gain strength from God to stand firm in their faith.”
A few high officials willing to enforce Laos’ religious freedom laws in the face of local prejudice and hostility is all it takes to keep fear from gripping villages where the gospel has taken root. Until that becomes more common, Christians will face what Pekelo* and his wife recently did – expulsion from their village after they put their faith in Christ.
They told the couple to renounce Christ or leave the village.
After the couple converted, 30 other villagers from eight families also received Christ. Officials fearful of angering local spirits thought it would be better that the Christians and everyone else become fearful of converting to the new and strange faith, so they told the couple to renounce Christ or leave the village.
The couple went to a seminar in another part of the country where the native ministry gave them and dozens of others training to strengthen their faith; they need prayer to know when they might return to their village.
At a previous training, nearly 170 pastors, lay leaders and others showed up.
“There are many new house churches, and new Christians who also like to come,” the leader said.
Last year the ministry planted 21 house churches as 1,918 people in 12 provinces came to Christ. In Laos as elsewhere in Southeast Asia, people heard the gospel through the efforts of native pastors and evangelists, messages on USB sticks, SD cards, radio programs and seminars. Workers continue faithfully in spite of their growing needs.
“They need assistance for their children’s education, and for their daily needs and expenses,” the ministry leader said. “Despite all these needs, we are able to support them financially only very little, and they have to find extra jobs to make a living. Yet, there are a lot of demands in ministry among the tens of thousands of Christians, and among other people groups who need help spiritually and physically.”
Please consider a gift today to assist native missionaries as they offer the Good News and discipleship to hungry souls in Laos and other countries in the region.
*Name changed for security reasons