American Christians Detained in Laos Return Home

Three Detained VBB Volunteers Fly Home on Easter Sunday

04/24/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that over the Easter weekend, three American Christians who were recently detained in Laos were freed and have returned home.

Identified as Wayne, Autumn, and Joseph, the three individuals volunteered with the US-based Christian non-profit organization Vision Beyond Borders (VBB), bringing Bibles to villagers in northern Laos. On April 8, they were detained by police in Laos as they visited villages north of Muang Sing in the Louang Namtha province.

Radio Free Asia, citing an unidentified district policeman in Laos, reported on April 16 that the three were detained for distributing religious materials without obtaining government approval. They were later freed from police custody, but still confined to a guesthouse and the surrounding village. The Lao New Year holidays from April 13 to April 16 slowed the progress on their release.

Eric Blievernicht, the acting Operations Manager of VBB, told ICC that on April 20, Wayne, Autumn, and Joseph flew out of Hong Kong. He further confirmed with ICC that they all returned to their respective homes on Easter Sunday.

“They are back now and getting rested up. I heard back from Autumn and she seems in really good spirits!” Blievernicht said, before adding that the three will soon share what they have learned from this experience.  

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We are joyful to know that these three brave Christians have returned home safely. We hope that this incident helps shed light on the lack of religious freedom in communist Laos. For others who are still risking their safety to distribute Bibles in restricted countries, we continue to pray for wisdom and protection over them.”

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

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