Three American Christians Detained in Laos

Vision Beyond Borders Volunteers Detained for Distributing Gospel Materials

04/15/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on April 8, three American Christians were detained by police in Laos as they visited villages north of Muang Sing in the Luang Namtha province. Wayne, Autumn, and Joseph were volunteering with the US-based Christian non-profit organization Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) at the time of their detention. They were sharing Gospel literature and the Good News of Jesus Christ with villagers.

VBB has been serving Asia by reaching people through the Word and strengthening the persecuted Church since its founding 25 years ago. VBB has carried over 1 million Bibles and 15,000 tape players containing the Gospel into closed countries. Many volunteers dedicate their time and energy, taking great risks in order to bring the Word of God to people with limited access to it.

The US Embassy in Laos has been involved in the case, according to VBB. A State Department spokesman also told Radio Free Asia on Friday, “We can confirm the temporary detention and subsequent release of three U.S. citizens in Luang Namtha, Laos. We take seriously our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens abroad and are providing all appropriate consular services.”

According to Asia News, a local Christian group is trying to help the three. “We have just learned of this and are traveling to the province of Luang Namtha to assist these three Americans,” the leader of a church in Vientiane stated on the condition of anonymity.

However, Eric Blievernicht, the acting Operations Manager of VBB, informed ICC that as of April 15, there is still no update regarding their release. He asked ICC to share the following prayer requests:

“1. For Wayne, Autumn and Joseph to be able to come home to their families soon. That this time forced to remain in Laos would turn to be a blessing for them and others in God’s purposes.
2. For the protection and fair treatment of believers in Laos, and particularly in Luang Namtha province.
3. That the Laos government would allow religious freedom so that believers could freely obtain Bibles and worship together.”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “ICC joins VBB in calling for the release of the three Americans: Wayne, Autumn, and Joseph. These Christian volunteers entered the communist country out of their love for the Laotian people, and they have done nothing wrong to deserve detainment. We pray for strength and protection over them as they suffer for the Gospel’s sake.”     

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator:press@persecution.org

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