By Linda Jones
05/18/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Persecution is not always in the form of physical torment. Often it can be the psychological challenges Christians face in hostile environments where they are seen as second class citizens or banned from freely practicing their religion. This type of persecution is often led by authorities who impose strict rules to target and intimidate Christians.
Laos and other countries in Southeast Asia are challenged by communist government regulations that prevent them from even acquiring a Bible. Some Christians living in the small villages near the Vietnamese border in Laos do not have a Bible nor the resources to even travel to purchase one.
“In Louang Phrabang, there is heavy persecution of Christians. They want to preserve the culture and feel Christianity threatens their culture,” Akamu told International Christian Concern.
“Even in areas of relative freedom, it is often difficult for Christians to get Bibles. There is a limited number available and this makes them very expensive if you are able to find them. The average worker in Laos only makes about $25-27 per month. Bibles may cost close to a month’s wages if they are able to locate them,” said Alika, a persecuted female victim.
ICC has partnered with Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) to implement a Bible distribution to provide these Christian communities with more than 4,300 Bibles that they can use to evangelize or for their own spiritual growth. The implementation of this project required printing the Bibles in their native language and then shipping them to a secure drop-off location between the Thailand and Laos border. The Bibles are left in a central location to be picked up by trusted contacts who will distribute them through a network of churches in Laos.
“In areas where persecution is high, it is very difficult to find a Bible. In these areas, many believers have never owned a Bible and some have never even seen a Bible. There is a tremendous need for the Word of God and our contact continues to tell us how grateful people are to finally have a copy of God’s Word in their native language,” stated VBB’s representative
Despite the many challenges that Christians in Laos face, they are still committed to spreading God’s message and sharing it with their neighbors. Therefore, the implementation of this Bible project has helped them tremendously with their mission of training leaders to share the Gospel, supporting the spiritual growth of the congregation, and reaching out to the 60 different tribal and ethnic groups in Laos.
Kahoku, one of the beneficiaries, explains that when they go on their missions trips to visit the ethnic groups, they usually speak with the elders or leaders of the tribes because “if they accept Jesus, it is likely that the whole village will come to Christ…the word of God is changing people and communities.”
Let’s continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Laos who are making a positive impact in their communities in the midst of persecution. Please remember to ask God for provision and strength so that His Word can continue to change lives, especially for those who are suffering in His name.