How many Christians are there in Laos?
There are seven million people living in Laos – only 227,000 of them are Christians, making up just three per cent of the population.
Why are Christians persecuted in Laos?
Laos is ruled by the Communist party, and while Buddhism is an accepted religion as part of the country's national heritage, other religions are seen as a threat. Christianity is seen as a Western ideology, and therefore hostile.
“Persecution is not as hard as it was before, because I’m now one of the health volunteers.”Anya, Church Leader
What’s life like for Christians in Laos?
Christians must take extreme caution to stay on the good side of the Communist authorities. House churches are considered ‘illegal gatherings’ and must operate in secret. The authorities use information from registered churches, which are government-controlled, and local leaders (mostly Buddhist monks) to put pressure on Christians.
Believers from Buddhist backgrounds are considered to have betrayed their Buddhist-animist community. They are frequently put under pressure by their own extended families.
Anya is a church leader in Laos, who leads a congregation of 580 people. They have faced many challenges, and Anya and his father have been imprisoned for their faith – they are seen as enemies by the Communist authorities, who associate Christianity with the American forces that bombed Laos in the 60s and 70s.
But with support from Open Doors partners, Anya has trained as a health care volunteer, helping to show that he isn’t an enemy of Laos, but someone who wants to show love and care to his people. In his rural part of Laos, where the nearest hospital or clinic may be two hours away, he can now provide the right medicine for those with simple health care issues, and has even had training on more complex needs, such as how to support someone suffering from arthritis, and how to help a woman deliver a baby.
How can I help Christians in Laos
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Laos. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Through local church partners, Open Doors strengthens persecuted believers in Laos by providing Christian materials, leadership training, discipleship programmes, advocacy, relief and practical aid.
*Name changed for security reasons
Lord Jesus, thank You that You are drawing people to Yourself in Laos. Please provide ways and means for our brothers and sisters to meet together safely, and strengthen believers who are facing oppression from loved ones for choosing to follow You. May more people in Laos come to know of Your great love and mercy. Amen.