A local partner in northern Laos Souvannee*, said, “The police will release the leaders if they sign a document agreeing to stop constructing the church.” Despite the order, these church leaders refused to sign the document. Although imprisoned, the three leaders were determined to continue building the church. Mr. Nu Ja, one of the leaders, stated, "We will continue building the church because we need a place to worship the Lord."
The authorities were still pressuring believers under hard conditions; they said that if believers continued building, all those involved would be arrested and put into jail as other leaders. "The community members continue to build the church despite the threats and orders. They want to finish it and have a place to gather for fellowship,” said our local coordinator in northern Laos.
Until now, these leaders have not yet been released. OD local partners are closely monitoring this Christian community to see what actions they will take regarding the situation. Our local coordinator and partners in northern Laos urge us to pray for our fellow Christians so that they may receive strength and encouragement from the Lord. Let us pray for the continued construction of a place where all of God's children can gather to worship and honor Him.
Update as of January 11, 2024:
The arrested leaders are still being held at the district police station. The church's construction was continued by the community of believers who completed the roof, walls, and floor with cement blocks. Praise God that they are now using this place for worship and meetings. However, the district administrator intends to repurpose the house church as the village office and this plan has yet to be implemented.
Latest update as of January 30, 2024:
Leaders Nu Ja, Ha Va, and Ja Nee are still detained at the police station and they continue to refuse to deny their faith. Other members of their church also continue to gather for fellowship and services in their newly finished church building.
However, OD local partner shared, “On January 26 (Friday), the province’s governor ordered some local authorities and the community to bring hammers and other tools to destroy the church, as seen in the video. It was built just last month but destroyed within a day. Please continue to pray for our brethren in the area.”
*Names changed for the security of the believers.