A Laotian house church continues to grow and remain strong despite the death of its leader, “Than,” last year. Than established a church in the rural Laotian village in 2006, and the 10 families in the church experienced much persecution over the years from village officials and neighbors.
Villagers destroyed the Christians’ crops, stole their livestock and threw stones on the metal roof of the church while they were meeting. Then, in 2008, village leaders confiscated their “family books” (equivalent to a national ID card, birth certificate and ration card). The Christians had to send their children to live in another village during the week so they could attend school. VOM provided food and other necessities for the families.
After Than’s death, authorities assumed the church also would finally die. But instead, more families in the village have come to Christ, and 15 families now attend the church. Even the village head, who had led the campaign against the church, became a Christian after seeing the great unity among church members.
Than’s son, 27-year-old “Kai,” is now the church’s leader. While God is clearly at work among this faithful group, their problems are not over. At a recent VOM-sponsored conference for training and encouragement, Kai told about an incident that occurred when he was invited to share the gospel in a village about 30 miles away. When Kai arrived in the village, some local people informed police that there was an evangelist in town.
Three officers appeared, carrying a handgun and a rope to tie up the evangelist. But when they met Kai, they recognized him as a former high school classmate and friend. The police asked Kai what he was doing in the village, and he told them, “I’m visiting the Christians.” The police accepted his answer and allowed him to complete his visit.