ICC NOTE: If one were to wake up and turn on the news or read an article online, they are likely to come across stories of religious persecution happening globally. But one area of religious persecution which tends to fall through the cracks is the risk taken by those who are working extremely hard in some of the most dangerous nations in the world. Vision Beyond Borders is one of those organizations, taking the gospel to the farthest points of Southeast Asia. With the constant threat of arrest and physical harm these brave men and women visit and help the most vulnerable. Please pray for Vision Beyond Borders and the Christian of Laos as the expansion of God’s kingdom continues even in the face of evil.
4/29/2016 Laos (Vision Beyond Borders) – Vision Beyond Borders recently had a team detained in a prison in Laos for distributing Bibles. The team had carried Bibles across the border and was distributing God’s Word in several remote areas where persecution is high. They were taken to a police station where they were questioned for hours. They were separated, questioned independently, all of their personal items such as cell phones and electronics were taken and searched, and they were not allowed to contact the embassy. They were eventually transported to a prison where they were placed in the prison with the general population and held for three days. They were eventually released, taken to the border and forced to leave the country.
What happened was eye opening. As Americans, we rarely have great risk to ourselves by doing this work. Usually all the risk is on the local people. They are continually faced with harassment, oppression and persecution. They live under fear that they will be discovered and punished for doing good and for serving God. It is easy for us to hear their stories and testimonies, but there is something about experiencing it closer to home that makes you realize how they live daily. And our team was released in a mere three days. Many people have endured years and even decades in prison for choosing to follow Jesus Christ.
It is good for us to realize how they live and to remember to pray for the persecuted church. It is easy to pray for them but to not really understand. God tells us we are to pray for them as we ourselves were in prison! There is an urgency that comes from experience that we can know little about until we have the experience. There is earnestness in prayer when there is a realization that no one really knows where you are or can come to your rescue. What our team experienced was a very small taste of what the persecuted church lives with on a daily basis. God comforts us in our sorrow so that we may comfort others with the same comfort we received from God. I believe God allows us to experience things because if we are to minister to the persecuted church we must have an understanding of what they experience. We have only a small taste of what they deal with continually.
It is our prayer that God will use this for His glory and to shed His light on persecution in Laos. What our team experienced is small in comparison to what the church in Laos experiences. It is our prayer that God will use this to bring greater freedom to Christians in Laos, the opportunity to worship Him freely, and the opportunity for them to share the Good News of the Gospel with those around them!
God was able to bring good from the team’s experience. They had opportunities to share the Gospel with many of the men they met in prison. There was a hunger for the truth there. They were able to get a couple Bibles into the prison with them and share some Scripture with those there. Please pray there will be fruit from their time there! Please pray for the persecuted church in Laos. As stated before, this was three days for us. For many, this is their life! Pray for a great harvest from the mission fields of Laos!
Please remember that persecution is increasing. Many of these countries try to give an illusion of freedom, but persecution is alive and well in Laos. Please keep our brothers and sisters around the world in your prayers!