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Lao, People's Democratic Republic
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Lao, People's Democratic Republic

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A Christian home in Laos. Christians in the country’s rural areas are particularly subject to persecution by the local authorities

“Those Christians have to renounce their faith or they have to leave the village!” When 82 residents of a village in rural Laos accepted Christ and three of their neighbours then died of unrelated causes within a short space of time, villagers called an animist witch doctor, who said that the Christians’ faith had angered the ancestors. Local officials then threatened severe consequences if the Christians did not give up their faith, and the believers were made to pay for the travel expenses of the officials and for the costs of the funerals.

Christians in Laos, who make up between 2 and 3 per cent of the population, often suffer persecution from village and district officials. In some areas Christians, particularly those belonging to ethnic minorities, suffer harassment, threats and detention or are denied access to education and medical care. Those who refuse to give up their faith may be expelled from their villages and/or lose their livestock or land.

Although the country’s constitution provides for religious freedom, local authorities do not uphold this and the central government, which promotes Buddhism (the majority religion) as an element of the country’s identity, rarely overrules them. Christianity is considered by all levels of government to be a threat to national unity. Both local and central authorities are very suspicious of the rapid spread of the Christian faith among ethnic minorities.

The government officially recognises three Christian groups and refuses to recognise others. Independent congregations are subject to more severe limitations than the official churches. Printing Bibles is illegal, and nearly all Christian activities are subject to a laborious process of governmental approval. Permission for legal activities such as importing Christian literature, evangelising and building churches is often denied. In areas where permission to build a church has not been given and local authorities also forbid Christians from gathering in private homes, meeting together is very difficult.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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