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Lao, People's Democratic Republic
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Lao, People's Democratic Republic

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A Christian home in Laos. Christians in the country’s rural areas are particularly subject to persecution by the local authorities

“Those Christians have to renounce their faith or they have to leave the village!” When 82 residents of a village in rural Laos accepted Christ and three of their neighbours then died of unrelated causes within a short space of time, villagers called an animist witch doctor, who said that the Christians’ faith had angered the ancestors. Local officials then threatened severe consequences if the Christians did not give up their faith, and the believers were made to pay for the travel expenses of the officials and for the costs of the funerals.

Christians in Laos, who make up between 2 and 3 per cent of the population, often suffer persecution from village and district officials. In some areas Christians, particularly those belonging to ethnic minorities, suffer harassment, threats and detention or are denied access to education and medical care. Those who refuse to give up their faith may be expelled from their villages and/or lose their livestock or land.

Although the country’s constitution provides for religious freedom, local authorities do not uphold this and the central government, which promotes Buddhism (the majority religion) as an element of the country’s identity, rarely overrules them. Christianity is considered by all levels of government to be a threat to national unity. Both local and central authorities are very suspicious of the rapid spread of the Christian faith among ethnic minorities.

The government officially recognises three Christian groups and refuses to recognise others. Independent congregations are subject to more severe limitations than the official churches. Printing Bibles is illegal, and nearly all Christian activities are subject to a laborious process of governmental approval. Permission for legal activities such as importing Christian literature, evangelising and building churches is often denied. In areas where permission to build a church has not been given and local authorities also forbid Christians from gathering in private homes, meeting together is very difficult.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • “The training helped me to establish the foundation of my faith in the Word of God and build my life on it. I deliberately teach the course to my friends.” Mr Lepcha, a Nepali living in India, had participated in a tutor training course sponsored by Barnabas that equipped him to lead Bible training courses. He then also started serving as an elder in his church. Give thanks that these courses are building up the faith of 419 Christian students and 54 teachers, most of whom are converts from other religions. It is also helping them stand strong when they meet resistance from their relatives and communities. Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when experiencing persecution and God’s strength to reach out in love to those who are hurting them. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

    • Pray for a Christian family in Kandhamal in Orissa state, India, who have been left devastated after their home was destroyed for the third time by Hindu extremists. The Digals of Budruka village were among hundreds of Christian families to lose their home in the horrendous anti-Christian violence of December 2007. They returned two months later and rebuilt their house, but in August 2008 the attacks resumed, and their second home was also destroyed. After receiving financial aid from the government they were able to rebuild it again this year, but in April it was wrecked once more, shattering their hopes of returning to their village to cultivate their land. Pray that the Lord will comfort them in their distress and provide them with a peaceful dwelling-place and secure home (Isaiah 32:18). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • The landslide victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s general election in May sparked alarm for Christians and other minorities in the country. The BJP is the political wing of a Hindu nationalist movement, Hindutva, which is striving to make India a religiously pure nation. It has given support to Hindu extremist groups that attack Christians, and states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. The BJP has introduced “anti-conversion” laws in a number of states, which are used to prevent legitimate Christian evangelism. Prior to the general election, the BJP pledged to introduce national legislation to curb “missionary” activity and end proselytising if elected. Pray that the BJP will rule justly and that the rights and freedoms of all Indian citizens will be upheld. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Christians in Sri Lanka facing attacks from Buddhist extremists, who have forced the closure of numerous churches. In an apparently positive move, the government has created a Religious Disputes Unit to address conflicts between different groups and combat attempts to create religious discord. But many Christians and Muslims believe that Buddhist extremists are allowed to operate with impunity and that the new unit will not solve the problems faced by non-Buddhists. A cap on the building of places of worship has also been announced, and this seems to serve the Buddhist lobby, which is opposed to expanding Christian activity. Pray for protection for Christian congregations and that their ministry and mission will not be further impeded. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for Alexis Prem Kumar, a 47-year-old Christian minister from India who was abducted in Afghanistan on 2 June. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but three Taliban militants have been arrested in connection with it. Alexis had worked for an NGO in Afghanistan since 2011, helping returning refugees. He was leaving a school near Herat for Afghan children who have recently returned from Iran or Pakistan when he was seized. Give thanks for Alexis’ willingness to serve the Lord in what remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, and pray for his safe return. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Sep 2014 00:00

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