Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Laos: homes demolished, Bibles confiscated, and Christians barred from burial - Open Doors UK & Ireland
31 March 2023

Laos: homes demolished, Bibles confiscated, and Christians barred from burial

In recent months, our persecuted church family in Laos have been suffering for their faith in different ways. Here, a few Open Doors partners share some of their stories and ask for prayer. All names in this article have been changed. 


Our church family in Laos are facing increasing pressure to renounce their faith –particularly in rural areas

Believers’ homes demolished for the second time in southern Laos

Several believers in the south of Laos have had their homes demolished by angry villagers for a second time. On 29 January, in the south-central region of Laos, five Christian families (pictured below) returned from another village where they were meeting for fellowship to find that their houses had been destroyed. The majority of their homes were only temporary shelters in a rice field just outside the village, as their original houses had been destroyed in November last year. 

“The villagers were forcing all of them to relocate to a different area,” says Dey, a local Open Doors partner. “They had no choice but to move to live in the rice field. They built new houses or small buildings that they can stay in for a brief period of time, but eventually, they must discuss and fight with the chiefs and villagers to ensure they can move back to their place and rebuild their houses while remaining Christians.”


The church is growing in this part of Laos, with more people becoming Christians! But this means that persecution is also on the rise. “Newly converted believers are being harassed by house-knocking, which is being led by the village chiefs in each area,” Dey says. “The community try to do everything to kick all new believers out of the villages. They told them that putting their faith in Jesus Christ will upset the spirits. And if the spirits are upset, the spirits will destroy [them]. They will cause more harm to all villagers, and the villagers would need to sacrifice more things to the spirits, and people living in the community will be sickened by the spirit.”

Local Open Doors partners are trying to assist the displaced believers as much as they can. “We talked about working together with our local church partners and setting up support for whatever need they might have,” shares Dey.

Please pray for this group of Christians in Laos as they seek to establish a place of shelter and safety, and for all displaced Christians in Laos, that they will be able to stand firm in their faith and see God’s provision.

Christians forced to sign a document forbidding them from practising their faith

Two tribal Christian families (11 believers in total) from northern Laos were forced to sign a written order issued by the local authorities after deliberately ignoring orders from their previous gatherings.

On 23 January, the local authorities brought these Christians to a meeting led and attended by representatives from district-level government, the village chief, other village authorities and elders, and some villagers. The aim of the gathering was to force the believers in the village to renounce their Christian faith by making them sign a document that stipulates the following:

“The community try to do everything to kick all new believers out of the villages” Dey, an Open Doors partner
  • Believers must stop hosting Christian activities and ceremonies that are illegal and violate the laws and local Lao traditions.  
  • Believers must stop proclaiming God’s Word to convince non-Christians to become followers of Jesus.
  • Fellowship, gatherings, and all Christian activities are absolutely forbidden in the community.
  • If either of the families disobeys the orders in this document, they will be prosecuted according to the law.

This is the third meeting called to address the so-called ‘bad attitudes’ of the believers that ‘need to be improved’. In every meeting, it was noted that the authorities had issued identical orders, but the believers continued to be steadfast in their belief and refused to stop being Christians. According to the document, ‘rebellious’ Christians such as them are no longer permitted to reside in the village for the foreseeable future.

“Unfortunately, one of the two families returned to ancestor worship and left their Christian faith as they were afraid that they will be kicked out of the village,” shares Xaysana, an local Open Doors partner. In a few cases in the past, our partners reported that some Christians who could no longer endure the pressure from their persecutors have given up and returned to their old beliefs.

Please pray that these believers will be able to endure this pressure and remain close to Jesus.

Laos village refuses Christian burial

While Som Nai, a Christian, was driving along a road, a truck crashed into her vehicle. Sadly, she died immediately from the impact – and, after the news reached her relatives, they rushed to look after her. They reported the incident to the police, but the police said they couldn’t do anything about the situation.

When Som Nai’s relatives tried to bring her body into the village for a ceremony and burial, the village chief did not allow them to enter because, according to the custom of their ethnic group, if villagers die outside of the village by accident or something else, their bodies should not be brought back to the community.

After a discussion, the family was allowed inside – but they were asked to pay a penalty. Som Nai’s parents approached the village chief about paying the fine, but because she was a Christian, they were required to pay significantly more than usual.

“Christians are treated differently and harassed even after they have died” Mui, an Open Doors partner

A church member loaned Som Nai’s parents some money, but the village chief refused to accept it because he said it wasn’t enough. Eventually, Som Nai’s parents buried her in land belonging to another believer’s relative outside of the village.

But that wasn’t the end of Som Nai’s parents’ troubles. After the funeral, the local authorities forced them to renounce their Christian faith, threatening them that if they did not listen and comply with instructions, their house would be demolished, and they would lose their right to live in the village. 

According to Mui, a local Open Doors partner in the region, one of the most difficult challenges for believers in Laos is the burial of deceased Christians in the community. “This kind of thing is not problematic for Christians only; even in some tribes, it is still hard for them if their relatives have died outside the village, and they have to bury their relative’s body somewhere that is not in the village,” Mui says. “And again, Christians are treated differently and harassed even after they have died and have no say in where their bodies are buried. Let’s pray for new believers to have more strength in Christ.”

Please pray for God’s comfort and provision for Som Nai’s parents, and for all Lao Christians who face discrimination and pressure from their local communities.

Bibles confiscated by local authorities 

Authorities burst in on a house church meeting in southern Laos last November and confiscated the Christians’ hymnbooks and Bibles. They also threatened the congregation and forced them to stop their fellowship.

A pastor from a nearby community had joined the group for worship, and the authorities demanded that he hand over his Bible, too. But he stood up to them and said, “Would you read it if you took it? I have only one, how can you collect it from me?” In the end, they didn’t take his Bible.

After they confiscated all the Bibles, the local officials produced a document and demanded that the congregation sign it. They told them that the document would be used to gather information on the people currently attending the service. The believers had no option but to sign their names on the report.

Before the authorities left the church, they cautioned the Christians to stop their times of fellowship worship. If they disobeyed, they would charge them and eventually imprison them, as they were ‘breaking the rules’. 

Dey says, “This is not the first time that local officials in Laos have seized Bibles. The majority of the time, the local authorities, the village chief, and other villagers in the community are opposed to Christians living in their community, and the villagers do all in their power to convince Christians to reject their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Please pray that these Christians will find a safe place to gather for worship, and that God will thwart the plans of the officials to spy on these believers.

Please pray

Heavenly Father, we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Laos who endure so much pressure and discrimination because they choose to put their trust in Jesus. Help them to stand firm in the face of rejection and persecution – and help them continue to be salt and light in their communities. Soften the hearts of village chiefs and local authorities in Laos and make Yourself known among them through Your church. Amen.

Top 50 booklet

Did you know that Laos is number 31 on this year's World Watch List? Find out about the top 50 countries where it's hardest to be a Christian with our Top 50 booklet, which features short country profiles, testimonies, prayer requests and an overview of latest trends.

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