Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders has been visiting Laos for 20 years and says ministry to this area of the world is no cake walk.
Klein says Laos and Vietnam often take their cues from China, so when China tightens the reins on Christianity, so do Laos and Vietnam.
“It’s very difficult because it is a communist country. The majority religion is Buddhism, but it is a communist country. We’re seeing them crack down more and more.”
“Christians have to be very careful what they say,” Klein explains. “When they come to Christ, you’ve got two different elements that you’re dealing with – you’ve got communism, but also you have got Buddhism.
“Since Buddhism is kind of the accepted religion, when you become a Christian, you’re kind of a threat right there. They don’t want you to leave Buddhism, but then also you’ve got this communism element that’s trying to control your life as well.”
The truth is, no government can control the spread of the Gospel, rather, the Gospel seems to flourish under persecution. However, when governments of countries such as Laos feel the lack of control, they take it out on Christians even more.
“We’re seeing in the villages especially, Christians are really being persecuted. They’re being arrested, they’re being detained by the police and held for days.”
Klein says that when he first started going to Laos, things were very tightly restricted. Over time they loosened up a little, but over the past few years, it has tightened up again.
However, it’s during these times of persecution when Christians must fully lean on Jesus, and when the Word of God, memorised and kept in their heart, gives them strength to keep going.
This is the attitude adopted by Christians who face persecution. According to Klein, they always remember this place is not their home, and because of their life found in Jesus, no earthly peril will overcome them.
“These people, they’ve really suffered for their faith, and they really love Jesus and realise this life is so temporal. And they realise the more they love Jesus, the more they will be hated by this world, and they’re seeing that lived out right in front of them.”
Klein says, while there is a freedom in that knowledge, “It’s important that Christians be praying – and not that the persecution ends – but that Christians will be strong, that they’ll be bold in their faith, that they will not back down, even though they have opposition, and that they’ll use every opportunity to preach the Gospel.”
- Give thanks for Laos Christians, for their faith, their love for Jesus, and their strength in the face of growing persecution.
- Pray for Christians in Laos, especially for the many who are in prison for their faith. Pray for them to have access to Bibles in prison, for their witness to fellow prisoners and guards, and for the hope and comfort of the Holy Spirit to surround them and their families.
- Pray for the Laos government to ease restrictions against Christians and allow freedom to meet together and worship without fear.
- Pray for Laos, for many in the nation to encounter Christ Jesus and come to know His saving grace and love.
Psalm 69 vs 32 – 33: “you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.“
Source: http://www.persecution.org/, http://www.crossmap.com/news,