Church growing in Laos, despite oppression

By January 3, 2011

Laos (MNN) — Laos ranks #9 on Open Doors World Watch List of Countries where Christians are persecuted. Just a few weeks ago, officials and residents of a Katin village in To Oih district, Sarvan Province destroyed rice paddies farmed by 11 Christian families.

President and founder of Vision Beyond Borders Patrick Klein just returned from Laos. He knows why it's not being reported in the international press. "It's not in the cities. It's more in the remote villages. We have heard stories of isolated incidents in the villages, which makes me concerned because I think persecution could break out especially as they see the church growing."

The negative view of Christians comes from the top, says Klein. He says their president said, "Americans are no longer our #1 enemy; Christians are. They said Christians rape women, and Christians steal money. It puts up a barrier between Christians and people of other faiths to have this resistance to Christianity right from the start."

Despite this, the church is growing. Klein says, "They have now over 200 churches throughout the country [and] over 60,000 believers. Young people are very open to the Gospel. Even the church service we attended the majority of them were young people. They're searching. They want the truth. They're hungry for Jesus Christ."

The church is growing so quickly it can't keep up with the basic needs of new believers — a Bible.

Klein says they just returned from covertly taking Bibles to churches in need. He says God protected the six people who had 18 bags between them full of Bibles and requested song books. "[The customs inspector] was looking at all these bags. And I just said, 'Father, we really need some help here.' And all of a sudden, the customs man turned around and went back into his office and was totally engrossed in his conversation. Six people were able to take 18 bags full of materials right out the door. We walked right past him, and he never saw any of it."

While the delivery went smoothly, the church is asking for more. "The church is asking for 2,000 New Testaments. So we're trying to raise money for those and then work on getting them in as soon as possible."

It costs about $5 for each New Testament. VBB has already raised nearly $2,000; your generous gift is needed now.

If you'd like to help Vision Beyond Borders supply a New Testament to Christians in Laos, click here.

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