Persecution Laos | 17 March 2024

8 Christian families expelled from village in Laos


Show: true / Country: Laos / Laos
Imagine you lived in a community where you wanted to help your neighbors and work together for the common good, living out the command of Jeremiah 29:7: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.”

And then, imagine if your help was rejected—and instead you were told to move, simply because you follow Jesus.

For eight Christian families in northern Laos, this was the situation that faced them this winter. These believers—about 30 people in total—have been serving God in their village since 2020. But in January, the village chief gathered all the villagers for a meeting and gave the Christians an ultimatum. “He threatened to ban all Christian believers from entering the village unless they renounced their faith,” explains Som*, an Open Doors local partner in this part of Laos. “He said, ‘You can’t live in this village anymore unless you will all recant your faith in Christ. We have different beliefs now, and we can’t live together.’’’

Most of the members of the tribe the Christians belong to practice a form of animism, and they give honor and respect to spirits. In these types of situations, people who chose to follow Jesus are seen as rejecting their ethnic heritage and are, in turn, rejected by their communities.

This type of rejection can be brutal for people who rely on farming for their livelihood—being expelled from the community means a loss of income and any stability in their lives.

Even with this threat, the Laos Christians refused to give up their faith.

Som described their response: “Despite the command, believers said, ‘We can’t return to animism; we will continue to believe in Jesus Christ. We can live in the same community and still be able to help each other.’”

The issue remained unresolved and was eventually escalated to the district level. This meant that representatives from around the area met together to try to find a solution. “On February 2, 2024, a conference was held,” Som says. “District police, authorities, village leaders and believers were present. The villagers initially did not allow the believers to stay in the village. However, the authorities stated that both parties could live together. The villagers rejected the decision, which led to a prolonged meeting.”

Eventually, a compromise was reached. “The villagers allowed the believers to live in the village but not in the community area,” Som says. “Christians were given instruction to move their house outside of the village’s boundary.

“We thank the Lord for the successful outcome of the meeting. It is a relief that believers can live in their home village, even if it is just outside. May the Lord bless the villagers with good hearts, and they will bring peace to the community. Please pray that these Christians would be a light and salt to their own community so they can proclaim God's word to non-believers.”

Additionally, thanks to your gifts and prayers, Open Doors partners were able to help provide materials to build new houses in the location outside the village. “Now, they have a new comfortable place to sleep and a secure area to gather for worship compared to the past,” says Lamthan*, another Open Doors partner in the region.

The situation is a reminder of the pain faced by our brothers and sisters in Laos who risk so much to follow Jesus. Praise God that they were able to find a solution—but please continue to pray for them as they grapple with the rejection from their own community.

please pray

Here are some other ways brothers and sisters in Laos asked us to pray with them:

  • Pray for God’s provision to meet the other needs of the Christians living in this community.
  • Pray for the believers, that they may remain steadfast in their faith even as they endure present and future challenges.
  • Pray for the non-believers in this village, that they will have an open heart to receive God’s Word and would accept the truth of Jesus’ love soon.
  • Pray for the church leaders in the area. Ask for God's wisdom to be upon them as they help and encourage believers to stand firm in their faith.
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