Thank you so much to everyone who wrote to Sop from Laos. After he and his family became Christians, they faced violent persecution from their Buddhist and Communist community. But their church continues to grow, and your prayers, support, and letters of encouragement have greatly blessed Sop and his community. All names in this article have been changed.
Sop's church is growing despite intense persecution; your cards and letters have been a huge source of encouragement to him
Sop is a Christian from a Buddhist background, living in a staunchly Communist village in the northernmost region of Laos. Because of their faith, Sop and his wife Dara have faced violent persecution: they have been forced to leave their village, had their pigs poisoned and their rice farm set on fire, and their children faced discrimination at school.
Thanks to your prayers and support, Sop was able to join in a house church leaders’ gathering which has now evolved into a group of Christian leaders equipping Lao churches and preparing believers for persecution. Through Open Doors local partners, Sop and Dara were also able to attend literacy teacher training and receive materials for their literacy classes, which have become an opportunity for them to be salt and light in their community.
Open Doors recently called Sop to check how he and his family are doing.
“Compared to before, we are no longer physically persecuted,” Sop says. “From time to time, we are mocked and receive verbal discrimination from the villagers because we are Christians.
“Our church is growing. Since the Covid-19 lockdown has been lifted, together with other believers, we have been going around our area preaching the gospel and planting churches. We also pray for people who are sick, and the demon-possessed.”
“My family is still taking care of and providing shelter for people who were kicked out of their homes because they have become Christians, as well as people who have become jobless because of the pandemic,” he continues.
“Since the lockdown, we have paused our literacy classes and focused on helping our community put food on their tables. However, through the classes we conducted before Covid-19, my wife’s mother and several others can now read the Bible.”
Although Sop and others in his village are now relatively freer to move from village to village, the impact of the pandemic to their livelihood has been significant. Through local partners, Open Doors was able to provide a tractor for Sop and his church that will hopefully help them get back on their feet.
“On behalf of my church, thank you for the hope you have given us. For supporting us over and again”Sop
“On behalf of my church, thank you for the hope you have given us. For supporting us over and again. Thank you for the tractor you provided for our house church, which not only benefits us but our entire community, Christians and non-Christians. We have been using it to plow our fields, carry sacks of rice from our fields to our homes, transport firewood from the jungle to our kitchens, and other tasks.”
Last year, Sop also attended two persecution-preparedness training courses where he learned more about helping others when they experience persecution and about his legal rights as a Christian living in a Communist country.
“We are one body and one family in Christ,” he says. “When our brothers and sisters are hurt, we are also hurt. More and more persecution take place in our provinces, so we need to do something to encourage the house churches to not fear persecution.”
Thank you to everyone who wrote to Sop! We received lots of letters and cards which will be a huge encouragement to him and his family. Please continue to pray for Sop, his church and community as they recover from the losses of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Your letters and cards make such a huge difference to believers like Sop - they can continue to stand strong because they know they are not alone. Why not send a message of encouragement to a persecuted Christian today?
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.