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Mekong Springboard – Oct. 27, Mr. Kh, a Christian leader told us that 7 people, including police and leaders of the village, had burned their bamboo church. As a matter of fact, the authorities have often threatened to burn the church. When the Christians heard the news about their bamboo church building being burned they cried loudly. Some of these people have been Christians only 8 or 9 months. They said that this church is the place where they worship the holy and living God, and they love it very much. When they heard that it was burned out, it felt like they were burned in their hearts. We encouraged them to stand firm in the Lord and in their faith.

There are more than 35 house churches and one church building that have 2,840 Christians in this province. But we do not know why no one else had any problem except the “bamboo church” village, which just started early this year. The authorities have been continually persecuting them since they became Christians.

3 church leaders, Mr. M, Mr. SS and Mr. Sa, were arrested on October 28, 2005. Mr. M’s wife said the provincial police came to arrest her husband and put him into their truck and took him to the provincial prison. She said that the police almost arrested her too, but she has an eight-year-old daughter who cried out, so they left her. Every Sunday, Mr. M and his wife have been walking two hours from their village to another village to preach and teach. The authorities have been warning him not to go over there to preach and teach, but they kept going. That is the reason he was arrested.

The HS district governor lied to Mr. SS, sending him to another province where he was formerly a district governor to get his retirement papers in order to receive his retirement funds. 2 policemen, not in uniform clothes, escorted him. The letter which was presented to the provincial governor, stated that Mr. SS should be put in prison for 6 months because he had broken the law which forbids leading people to believe in a foreign religion. Then the governor asked him, “Is there anything that you have done wrong, apart from being a Christian?” He answered no, he had done nothing wrong. The governor said that there are many Christians in his province as well. Then the 2 policemen asked 500,000 kip, (2,000 baht) from Mr. SS to pay for their travel costs for escorting him. He did not pay them because he had not asked them to escort him. Then the governor gave the police 500,000 kip. Mr. SS is afraid that he might have to pay this back later on because the governor told them that the district governor has to pay him back.

October 23 was another serious day for the HSN Christians. The police and the head of the village tried to force them to renounce their faith and stop holding worship services. The content of the papers they were asked to sign were written very deceitfully, carefully avoid any direct mention of Jesus. The papers did address Christian activities such as evangelism and witnessing. The Christians did not discern the deceit of the authorities behind the papers or their real purpose. The police, the communist party members in the village and the head of the village insisted that Mr. SS sign the paper. He took his pen and started to sign his name on the paper but suddenly his daughter smacked his hand away from the paper so he would not sign it. All the authorities who were standing there were astonished and embarrassed because of her boldness. She told us her testimony herself. She does not know how to read to write. She just depends on other people to read for her. Christian radio is very important to her. Isn’t it amazing that although she did not know how to read, she knew that the content of the papers that the authorities were pressuring them to sign were not true and were deceiving her father. Isn’t that wonderful?

The reason that the local authorities are so displeased is because Mr. SS has become a Christian even though he was a formerly communist district governor. He had served the government for more than 30 years. They cannot understand why he became a Christian? It is very hard for them to accept.