In one small community in southern Laos, two Christian families’ homes have been burned down and another woman is missing after she was shot at by a family member. Please pray for her safe return, and for Open Doors partners as they assist these families. Please note: all names have been changed for security reasons.
Two Christian families’ homes have been destroyed and set on fire by neighbours, and another young Christian woman was shot at in a small farming village in southern Laos.
Because of their faith, the houses of Khouane and Soulinn were burned to the ground by the villagers. Local sources shared with Open Doors partners that non-Christian neighbours and relatives of the victims first destroyed Khouane’s and Soulinn’s homes before setting them on fire.
“Praise God, Khouane’s wife was quick enough to pick up their baby when the villagers started burning the house otherwise the baby might have been dead by now,” shares Souphaphone, a local Open Doors partner.
Understandably, as the heads of their families, Khouane and Soulinn have been shaken by what’s happened and that they were not able to do anything to stop the villagers, who outnumbered them.
Meanwhile, a young woman named Manichanh from the same village is now running for her life, after escaping from two gunshots fired at her by a family member. Members of the church have been out looking for her since the incident, but haven’t found her yet.
"At the moment, no one is allowed to enter the village." Souphaphone
“Believers are camped in front of the village office,” Souphaphone says. “At the moment, no one is allowed to enter the village. There were registered church leaders from neighbouring places who managed to get in and take some pictures; however, the village authorities quickly arrested them and they’re now being held at the village office.
“Our partner in the area is now in contact with the family and we hope to send in the help needed despite the tight restrictions. It is very challenging as people not related to the incident, even those inside the village, are not allowed to talk to the persecuted believers.”
There are just under 200,000 believers in Buddhist-majority Laos, which is currently number 31 on the World Watch List. People from the Buddhist-animist community who become Christians face pressure and violence from their families and the local authorities. The community often gets stirred up against them, until the new believers are expelled from their home village.
"Your prayer will be one of the most powerful comforts for our brothers and sisters in Christ." Souphaphone
“These believers’ village is in a hotspot [persecution] area in the south of Laos,” Souphaphone continues. “Believers in this area became Christians some time ago. However, persecution has been non-stop since their conversion. The church has been closed, believers have been physically harassed or socially discriminated against by the community, and in many cases cut off from the social benefits of the government. Villagers want Christians in this area to recant their faith, but they refuse to do so.
“Your prayer will be one of the most powerful comforts for our brothers and sisters in Christ, strengthening their faith and making them strong to believe in God's way for them.”
Join a special prayer webinar for the launch of the World Watch List on 17 January - in-person at Westminster Chapel or online. You'll be able to pray for the persecuted church and the impact of the World Watch List - why not invite your church or small group?
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Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.