Part of being a believer of Jesus in Buddhist and communist Laos is risking imprisonment. Jik’s* husband, Dok, faced that consequence for 13 years. When her husband was gone, how did Jik cope? More so, how did this woman of faith step up in the face of persecution?
A Look Back
On the morning of June 8, 1999, while Jik’s children were at school and she was opening her small retail store in front of her house, two policemen came to the door. They invited her husband, Dok, to the village chief’s house.
After her husband left, Jik was told that Dok would be sent to prison for sharing the gospel and she had little chance of meeting him again.
“To whatever god you are worshipping, pray that you will see your husband again,’ the policemen told me,” Jik remembers. “That afternoon, when my children arrived home from school, I told them they would never see their father again because he had been taken by the police.
“They cried really hard.”
Jik had nothing to feed her family, not even a 1,000 Kip (13 cents). When she walked in the market with the little money she did have, others would look at her strangely, as if she did something wrong.
“Some would spit on me.”
Through it, all Jik had no idea if her husband was dead or alive. After five months, prisoners who were discharged from the same jail as Dok came to her house and gave Jik a handwritten letter signed by her husband.
Knowing her husband was alive, and which jail he was at, rejuvenated Jik. She became a regular visitor at the jail, bringing her husband food … and a little something else.
“From the basket of sticky rice my wife sent to me every day, she wrote encouraging words and slipped in torn pages of the Bible,” Dok said.
Some of the words written on the small pieces of paper were: “Believe in Jesus only. Now I already believe in Jesus and I am very joyful and happy.”
“Reading those words, I became so happy that the police thought I had gone crazy,” Dok recalls.
In jail, Dok became sick, and Jik’s visits increased. Sometimes when she saw that her husband was very weak, she would encourage him with more Bible verses.
“When I saw him in that situation, I put a Bible verse in his hand, especially Psalms 121:5 that says ‘God is living in you and protects you every time.’ I always said that to my husband,” Jik remembers.
In her husband’s absence, Jik realized God was calling her to take Dok’s place in the village. Dok was first converted to Christianity in the area and had been a strong evangelistic voice since.
“After my husband was put in jail, I realized that God has chosen me to serve Him for our province instead of my husband. There were a lot of people who came to know Jesus and a lot of ministries were organized.”
Many people came, including the district authorities of the province, who told Jik, “At first we heard there were Christians in just your village, but now people all over the province know about Jesus.”
Jik says she wasn’t necessarily preaching. She was sharing the gospel.
“I just believed and had faith in God and people saw it in my life. And I am very much thankful to the Lord for that.”
A year after Dok had been in prison, many people came to believe in Jesus because of Jik’s and her husband’s testimonies. In 2001 they held their first worship service in their small house. Soon, many more came to join them and by 2005 the house couldn’t accommodate the number of people attending. So they prayed to the Lord for a bigger place.
“I prayed and prayed to God, and after a few weeks, our house caught on fire and everything in our home was burnt. My daughter asked God for help, and God told her that we have to prepare our hearts because He is going to give us a bigger place.”
“We were able to accommodate at least 100 people. A few years later, many more came to our house to worship God, so I told God to prepare a much bigger place for us. And he did. Glory to God, we can accommodate more than 250 people.”
Today, by God’s grace, 62 churches and more than 3,000 believers are scattered throughout Oum province through the leadership of Jik and her daughter.
Jik, together with Dok who was released in 2012, her daughter and the Christian converts of Oum province* are again praying for a much bigger place that might accommodate separate activities for children, young people and adults.
Aside from this, they are praying for a truck or two to be used for their mobile ministry. The trucks will be used for the teams who are assigned to go from one village to another to share the Good News and encourage co-believers in Christ.
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*Names and places have been changed for security