Sowing and reaping in Laos: prepare hearts with prayer
Pray into the worldviews that shape people’s thinking in Laos.
Laos is unique as one of the few remaining Marxist-Leninist countries that also follows Theravada Buddhism. Being Lao is synonymous with being Buddhist; Christians who do not participate in traditional festivities and ceremonies face Buddhist aggression. Evangelism is effectively prohibited on the grounds it would create social division. Families see Christianity as breaking family unity. The majority of Christians are from a tribal background, and face severe persecution – mostly instigated by animists and spiritists who lose their trade due to conversions.
- That Christians will respond to monitoring by village officials with wisdom and sensitivity
- For believers from the Katin or Hmong tribes, who are especially vulnerable. Some have been killed in army clashes
- Give thanks for reports that orders to expel 10 Christian families from their village were retracted.
The state and the ruling Communist party put heavy pressure on the small Christian community in Laos. On paper, the government protects the rights of Christians but this is not the case in practice. Three Christian denominations are registered yet Christians remain the number one enemy of the state.
Persecution is mostly instigated by animists and spiritists who lose their trade due to conversions to Christianity. Therefore, there are high levels of persecution in tribal areas and villages.
The government promotes Lao culture which includes teaching Buddhist practices. If Christians do not participate in traditional festivities and ceremonies, they face Buddhist aggression. In 2012 at least three churches closed under Decree 92, the principal legislation defining religious practices and favouring Buddhism. There were, however, encouraging reports of an official stopping the expulsion of 10 Christian families. No major changes are expected as the government continues to favour Buddhism, therefore encouraging local religious and political leaders to pressurise the Christian minority.