In the February 10, 2010 Weekly Prayer Force Alert, we reported the plight of 48 Laotian Christians who were marched at gunpoint out of their village, had their homes and livestock confiscated, and were forced to live in make-shift camps outside the village – all because they refused to renounce their faith in Christ!
Prior to being forcibly removed from Katin village, the Christians endured months of threats and torment, beginning with the confiscation and slaughter of livestock and the death by asphyxiation of a Christian villager identified only as Pew in July 2008. Immediately after Pew’s death, authorities incarcerated 80 men, women and children in a school compound without food until they signed documents renouncing their faith. In 2009, however, they began worshiping again in private homes, raising the ire of authorities.
Since their expulsion, these 11 families built crude shacks about four miles outside of town. Living in deplorable conditions, some have even been hospitalized due to unclean water and lack of food. But, in spite of these interventions by government officials to stamp out Christianity, two additional families professed faith in Christ after the January 2010 evictions, another four families in July and one additional family in October. Katin officials warned these new converts that they would be evicted if they held to their beliefs. Then, on December 23rd, 2010, officials rounded up the seven families and expelled them from the village.
With the addition of the new families, the struggling Christian community is now at its limits. Efforts to grow food or improve their conditions have been derailed. Late last year they planted rice out of season to sustain themselves, but on December 26th, village officials and former neighbors drained water from the plots, stamped on the rice seedlings and burned fences, leaving any remaining plants vulnerable to wandering bulls. With their food supplies exhausted and the dry season approaching, local authorities are counting on them eventually giving up and denying their faith to save their lives.
Father, here where food is plentiful it is difficult to understand such hunger. The Laotian believers are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we often feel helpless in making a difference. But You are sufficient and own “the cattle on a thousand hills.” Nourish them, Father. Sustain their hunger and thirst even with meager resources. Strengthen their resolve to remain faithful to You. Soften the hearts of neighbors and local authorities that they might return to their homes. Uphold them with Your strong right arm, so the entire village might rise to praise and worship the name of Christ. Amen
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