By Gina Goh
12/23/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – As persecution against Christians in China intensifies, neighboring communist Southeast Asian countries also follow suit and begin to narrow the space for churches to exist.
When the future seems dimmed, a group of volunteers crossed borders and entered the communist Laos to bring the Word of God and encourage our body there.
With ICC’s support, a U.S. based Christian group has been able to send 20,000 Lao Bibles and 8,500 Hmong language Bibles into Laos where the Hmong (ethnic minority) Church continues to grow, and their team was able to help distribute these Bibles inside the country after they were transported across the border.
A volunteer who went on a trip recently shared with ICC, “God allowed for us to deliver well over one thousand Bibles to this country. One Sunday, a few of us were able to cross the border and worship with some dear believers at an underground church service. This answered many of our ‘why’ questions, and I realized the deliveries were more than worth the time and resources invested. We were there to serve these brothers and sisters, but their faith greatly impacted my life.”
Another volunteer also shared, “When we brought the load of Bibles in…what a joy it is to bring all these Bibles and get there, and all these pastors excitedly come out to help carry all the suitcases in…Then pastor Tommy* mentioned to all the training pastors that they could have one Bible each to take to their villages to give to a friend or family member. So we got to hand out the Bibles to each and got to pray with them.”
When these volunteers take risks to bring the Word of God to the believers in Laos, they not only bring encouragement, they also become witnesses to God’s amazing work in the country.
During their latest trips, when the volunteers were on their way to deliver Bibles, a U.S.-based Lao pastor who has been travelling between the two countries, asked them to pray for the soldiers and police in Laos. He told them that at one time, government employees were not allowed to go to church, and he had been praying for them to be freed from these restraints.
While these civil servants are now allowed to attend the government-controlled Lao Evangelical Church, soldiers and police are still banned from attending church. If they were to be discovered attending a church, they would lose everything.
Yet with God, all things are possible – God is still working among the soldiers in Laos. In fact, the Bibles these volunteers delivered were for the soldiers. Though they are unable to attend church, God is drawing them to Him and many of the soldiers are receptive to receiving Bibles.
Christians in Laos face two major challenges: one from the government, another from the Buddhist majority community. They often are pressurized to recant their faith because their new-found faith does not align with the rest of the village, or the government will harass or threaten them for being Christ followers. If they are from ethnic minority groups, then they could face even more scrutiny and hostilities.
Prayers are needed for the Hmong Christians who are experiencing difficulties in both Laos and Vietnam. Our partner asks that “Please pray for the new believers who have been hated and persecuted by their own non-believer relatives because of jealousy and discrimination. This problem is still happening among the new Hmong Christians in Vietnam. Many have their property, farmland, and livestock taken away from them, and kicked out of the village.”
They also asked for prayers for the Hmong believers in the region to grow more mature, despite the tension between believers and non-believers in the villages and how they are often falsely accused, a common persecution that seems to never end.
*Name changed for security reason.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].