World Watch 2009 — Laos

laos-mapTop 10 Nations Where Christians Suffer Worst Persecution

1. North Korea

2. Saudi Arabia

3. Iran

4. Afghanistan

5. Somalia

6. Maldives

7. Yemen

8. Laos

“The church is relatively small but continues to grow (about 200,000 believers, who mostly belong to ethnic minorities). There was hardly any improvement in religious liberty in 2008 in the country. The Laotian authorities allow limited presence of Christianity and put believers under strict surveillance. From time to time believers are arrested, many of whom experience extreme physical and emotional pressure (torture) to renounce their (new) faith. The regime limits the number of open churches and regularly closes churches, especially in the countryside. The biggest challenges to the church in Laos are societal pressure against converts who renounce evil spirit worship and the negative perception of the government on Christianity (The Church) as agents for the USA to bring political change in Laos towards “democracy.” The Christians’ patriotism is questioned. They are being accused of not being good citizens. In one incident, some Christians were caught with an anti-government organization clamoring for an independent state with full autonomy. But still there are many unregistered activities and the church seems to be growing despite persecution. In February 2008, 58 believers were arrested in two villages in Bokeo province. In March, eight pastors were arrested on the border as they were on their way to a training session in Thailand. In July there were large-scale raids in Boukham and Katin villages in which at least 80 believers were arrested. Though most of those arrested have been released, an unknown number are still in jail.” (World Watch List 2009)

Prayer Challenges

“There a still huge parts of the country that have never heard the gospel. laos-collage

“Over 90% of trained church leaders left Laos in 1975 in the face of persecution. It is still dangerous and difficult for church leaders to leave the country to get training. Pray that through small house group fellowships – the churches will grow and mentor other leaders as well.”(Operation World)

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