Women in Laos have always been considered inferior to men, striving to prove their worth on a daily basis. Struggling to complete outside work while fulfilling domestic demands, Laotian women often work long into the night while others, in the home, sleep. In fact, as Buddhists, the only way for a woman to enter ultimate enlightenment is for her to be reborn as a man.
For Christian women in this society, life is even harder. Because the government champions Buddhism, these women practice their faith in the shadows. When their faith is exposed, they are often stripped of their properties, disowned by their parents and even beaten by their husbands.
Sit down for a moment with these Laotian women and listen to their stories. Though their names have been changed for their protection, each of these women is very real.
- Onaona loves her husband, Kahoku, and longs for him to know Jesus, but he scoffs at the idea of accepting Him in his life. Whenever Onaona tries to share the gospel with him, they end up quarrelling. Kahoku despises Onaona’s faith so much that he reports her to the police whenever a pastor visits their home. Pray that God strengthens Onaona and opens Kahoku’s heart to believe in the Lord Jesus.
- Kina, Laina, and Iwalani make a valiant effort to keep their families together. Though their husbands have occasionally accepted their repeated invitations to attend church, the men always go back to their old ways. Their husbands have now become stricter, prohibiting them from attending church activities without permission. Worse, they sometimes torture their wives because they have declared their faith in Christ. Pray for God’s comfort for Kina, Laina, and Iwalani. Pray that their testimonies will reveal God to their families, especially to their husbands.
- Dea longs to attend church services, but her husband Mong, who is addicted to alcohol and drugs, forces her to work on Sundays. Dea cuts grass and harvests the fields while Mong sinks further into a haze of intoxication. Ask the Lord to give her strength to fulfil her duties as a homemaker while learning more about God. Pray that Mong will encounter Jesus and be freed from the bondage of his addictions.
- One of the reasons Kena can’t bring her family to church is poverty. Her husband and children keep trying to convince her that church is a waste of precious resources. With barely enough money for food, there is none left for her to travel to church. Adding to her problems, Kena’s salary as a school principal has been delayed for four months. Pray for provision for Kena and her family.
- Jeanitha is new to the Christian faith. She finds it difficult to fully let go of the rituals that have surrounded her from childhood. Sometimes, she still invokes spirits and seeks advice from fortune tellers. When she loses objects, or when animals in her care are missing, she consults shamans. Some of the other Christians in her local body still offer meals to spirits when their loved ones die. Today lift Jeanitha, and others who share her struggles, in prayer to the Lord. Pray for God to give them knowledge, courage and boldness to “shed their old wineskins,” that they may be redeemed from their old ways and be renewed in Christ day by day.
Father, we lift up these young women in Laos before Your throne. Thank You for the seeds of faith You have planted in their lives. We call on You to water their growing faith and cause it to flourish in the midst of hostile ground. We pray against the temptation to return to Buddhist and pagan rituals. Give them access to Your Word that they might grow in their knowledge of You. Protect them from discouragement as they are mocked and beaten by their husbands, as they are forced to work in the fields when they desire to join with other believers in worship. Soften the hearts of their husbands and draw them unto Yourself that they might serve You as couples and families in this land of Laos. In the name of Jesus who draws His people out of the darkness into the light of the gospel. Amen.