The Church and discipleship in Laos

It is difficult for Westerners to understand what it’s like to grow up in a strongly Buddhist environment, especially in many rural locations where Buddhism may be overlaid with animism, such as can be found in Laos and other parts of South-East Asia. A deep-seated fear dominates life; fear of evil spirits, ancestral ghosts and witchcraft. If a person is sick or considered to be demon possessed the family may bankrupt themselves making sacrifices to appease the spirits. Some areas gain a dubious reputation as hotspots of spiritual warfare which even local people try to avoid. Pray for the gospel to penetrate with the Good News of true deliverance and pray for divine protection upon Christian workers who are living and ministering in such spiritually oppressive situations. (OMF – March 2012)

Pastor Aliya Tammavong has paid a high price for his faith – spending three years hiding in the jungle and watching his son starve to death. Nevertheless, he insists that he has never regretted his decision to follow Christ. Aliya is a member of the Khmu, the largest ethnic minority group in Laos which is ruled by a repressive regime. The self-sacrificing ministry of Aliya and other brave leaders like him is bearing huge fruit in Laos, even amid persecution. The church has almost doubled in size in the last ten years. Though Christians in Laos continue to suffer, many Laotians are coming to faith, especially young people. Aliya’s people, the Khmu, have been among the most responsive groups. Pray that the church in Laos will continue to grow despite close monitoring and tight government restrictions. (Bible Society – May 2011)

The large numbers of Khmu people becoming Christians and growing spiritually in Laos today is due in large part to the Khmu radio broadcasting programme. This is broadcast twice a day from the Philippines and beams into Laos, Thailand, China and Vietnam, where the Khmu are living. The population of the Khmu in southeast Asia is about 800,000, with about 700,000 in Laos, of which there are about 60,000 Khmu Christians in 11 provinces. (Echoes of Service – December 2010)

In Laos believers are regularly monitored by the authorities, hindering church growth. Pray for courage and protection for God’s people, especially those who live in remote areas. Pray too for God to plant a vision for youth ministry in the hearts of more church leaders and pastors, so that young believers may be trained and mobilised to become involved in the life of the Church. (Open Doors – January 2010)

Although economic growth averaged 6% p.a. between 1988 and 2008, the country is still hugely underdeveloped, especially in rural areas (80% of the labour force is employed in agriculture). The Government has recently allowed local NGOs to register for the first time and, in November, to start to operate as independent entities. Pray for the Laotian people as they create new community groups and carefully explore the freedom to operate provided by the recent Government legislation. Pray too for safety and wisdom for the staff of NGOs now working in Laos. (CORD – November 2009)

Laos is one of the five remaining communist states and religious freedom is virtually non-existent. Nevertheless, Lao believers have shown amazing courage and persistence in sharing the gospel and, despite severe persecution, the Church is growing rapidly. People are hungry for the word of God and men and women within the Church are teaching, encouraging and discipling at considerable risk to their own lives. Pray for protection for the Church in Laos and for wisdom and courage for the Lao Christians as they continue to share their faith. (AsiaLink – July 2009)


The message will be closed after 20 s