Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 10 March 2010
Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Laos
Country/Region: Lao, People's Democratic Republic
In July 2009, nine Christian families (53 people) in Laos each had one of their pigs seized and slaughtered by village officials. The officials stated that this was to punish the families for believing in the Christian faith. A pig is worth about six weeks’ wages. Six days later, the village chief announced at a village meeting, “Those who follow the Christian faith are practising a foreign religion, not a religion of Laos. We have banned the Christian faith in our village.” He said that those who persisted in the Christian faith would “no longer be under the official provision and protection of the village”.
Less than 2% of the population of Laos is Christian. The law does not recognise a state religion; however the government supports and promotes Buddhism (followed by about 67% of the population), granting it exemption from a number of legal restrictions. The Christian faith is often condemned as an “American religion” and therefore as an enemy of the state. The national government is fearful of any Western influence and has made clear its intention to “eliminate Christianity”.
Since 2004 reports have started to surface about the persecution of Christians in Laos. In particular, local authorities often monitor and harass the Christian community, frequently detaining and arresting believers on false charges. In rural areas Christians suffer much harassment and persecution, partly from the government and partly from local people. This can include prison, loss of land, refusal of education to their children and even martyrdom.
Continue to pray for the Church in Laos as it faces harassment, intimidation and persecution from the Government and local authorities.
- Pray that believers in Laos will stand firm against attacks by the government and that the Lord will continue to add to their number, despite restrictions.
- Many believers meet in private; pray that their Heavenly Father will be their provider and protector and pray for increased freedom for Christians to be able to meet together and worship without fear.
- Pray too for those families who lost their livelihoods when their pigs were seized and slaughtered by the authorities. Pray that they may still be able to rejoice in the Lord. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)