In Laos, one of the world’s poorest countries, Communism is growing bolder again, as authorities heavily monitor all religious activities. House churches are forced to operate illegally. Converts to Christianity face the most severe forms of Christian persecution.
Abandoning Buddhism or tribal animist beliefs is seen as a betrayal to family members and the community, which fuels the perception that Christians essentially excommunicate themselves from the Buddhist-animist community. Leading a house church is seen as a particularly hostile act against the community.
Our field is asking for prayer for one such leader and his family, as well as his house church, in northern Laos (No. 19 on the World Watch List). Tou* is a house church leader in a Buddhist village who has suffered for his faith for eight years now–ever since he became a Christian.
“I have never had peace in my village because the local authority and my community persecute me. They are opposed to my belief,” he says.
Recently, Tou and his family faced a series of attacks after his village refused to allow a Christian family to bury one of their family members. When the village chief and elders learned that a Christian ceremony had been arranged, they warned the family not to perform any rituals related to Jesus.
But the family pushed through with it. When the villagers saw what they were doing, they began beating the Christian believers who were there, including Tou.
“Christianity has no meaning and Christians are useless,” they shouted. “You have no value even when you die.”
‘Why do people hate us?’
After that incident, Tou faced a series of attacks. Late last year, his rice barn was burned, the tractor he used to plow his rice field was destroyed, and his house was pierced through the roof. Tou reported the crimes to the village chief, but his case was ignored.
A day after reporting the incidents, his wife Manilay* was also attacked. She was holding their baby.
“Why do people hate us for being Christians, and why are we not being helped?” she asked a man in the village.
Angered by her question, the man told her to be silent, then hit her head twice. Manilay says a neighbor nearby who saw the incident, shouted, “Beat her! Hit her! It would be good if she dies!”
The man who beat her also threatened Manilay: “I will knock down everyone who believes in Jesus. I will kill them because they are meaningless and have no value!”
In a separate incident, villagers hit another one of Tou and Manilay’s children on the head with an iron wheel from a motorbike.
“I wish the government would help us and solve this problem,” Tou says. “I have been suffering with this kind of treatment for eight years already.”
Last month, through the help of local contacts, Open Doors extended financial help to Tou’s family and provided literacy materials for his house church and children who are unfairly treated in school. Children of Christian parents don’t receive the same benefits as those with Buddhist parents.
Please pray for Tou, Manilay, their family and house church
- Pray that the Lord will protect every believer in Tou’s village and that they will continue to hold on to Jesus in every good or bad circumstance.
- Ask God to continue to strengthen their faith and obedience and become even more devoted to reaching out to those who persecute them.
- Pray that God will send people to bless them both practically and spiritually.
*Representative names and images used for security reasons