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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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    • Give thanks that two small Christian communities in Niger have received livestock from Barnabas Aid to help them become self-sufficient. The Christians also received three days of training to learn how to take care of the animals. The predominantly Muslim region where these communities are located has endured more than a decade of food insecurity. Pray that the livestock will prosper, so that the Christians will be able to sell them at a good price and will become financially independent. Pray also that growing tensions between Muslims and Christians in Niger will not adversely affect them. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 6 hours ago

    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

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