Despite repression, the church grows in a Southeast Asian country.

By March 24, 2006

SE Asia (MNN)–An atheist regime in Southeast Asia keeps Christians harshly repressed.

Mission To Unreached Peoples is there planting churches. Because of the nature of the area, we’re calling our source ‘Steve’. Asked if people respond to the Gospel, Steve says, “People who become believers generally are aware that there may be a high cost involved, and yet the church is spreading rapidly there.”

From time to time the government holds campaigns and closes churches, especially in the rural, isolated areas. And even with the threats of jail, torture, and in some cases, death, the drive to share the hope of Christ does not appear to be wavering.

Steve says, in fact, it’s the opposite. “Leaders tell me not to ask outside people in the west not pray for persecution to cease but rather for them to be able to endure.”

But the danger is real. To be in an underground church means risking the harshest of government treatment. “The government has officially, yet secretly, targeted that region for the disestablishment of Christianity wherever it has appeared.”

In November 2004, a new ordinance was implemented that gave more strict regulations on religion. That, in turn, has led to more specific crackdowns, in spite of the humanitarian mask the government puts on. Steve says, “We have sent he documents that were classified in that area. The persecution level is quite high.”

Open Doors agrees. Their information indicates that the legislative measures on religion have not resulted in noticeable improvements. No church organization has yet achieved legal registration, and church leaders have documented many ongoing attempts to force Christians to give up their faith.

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