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Gospel Grows in Laos Despite Opposition

Pei, a widow in Laos, was secretly discipled at a local missionary’s church for five months before she developed the strength of faith to tell her daughter and son-in-law about her conversion. “After saying only a few words about Jesus, both her daughter and son-in-law immediately began to violently criticize her,” the local ministry leader said.

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Eternal Fruit Born from Dying Grain in Laos

Family members of a woman in Laos who died earlier this year had let her waste away in poverty, refusing to care for her because of her faith. Workers for a local ministry arranged her burial, inviting villagers they had ministered to in various community and gospel outreaches.

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100-Year-Old Pastor a Balm amid Suffering in Laos

A 100-year-old church leader has long attended a local ministry’s training seminars, where he has encouraged others with his faithfulness in the face of persecution. “He has endured so much in his walk with the Lord, to the point that he was imprisoned eight times for his faith,” the native ministry leader said.

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Demonic Force Locks Lao Man in Despair

Filled with sorrow that his wife had left him, a young man in Laos was walking through Buddhist temple grounds when he felt something like a small bird hit him in the chest.

A strange strength came over him, and relatives said that later he became violent and unable to communicate coherently.

His parents and other villagers were unable to calm or communicate with him; they built a cage and locked him inside.

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Christians in Laos Are Denied Food for Following Christ

In a country where rice is already in short supply due to drought in some areas and flooding in others, those who follow Christ are even more threatened as officials withhold rations from those who have left the ancestral gods for Christ.

At the same time, villagers refuse to sell staple items to Christians.

Many villagers are torn between love of the Lord and need for food.

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Obstacles, Opposition Come with Kingdom Expansion

Relatives hostile to Christian faith, flooded roads that damage motorcycles, government restrictions on travel – all can instill fear in both native missionaries and new Christians in Laos.

In one of the world’s last bastions of communism, a 2016 religion law known as Decree 315 threatens to cripple efforts to spread the gospel. Gathering together, holding worship services, traveling and planting churches where none existed require prior permission.

Native missionaries are confronting a new level of fear and intimidation.

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Good News for Those Spreading Good News

The scenario of tribal animists coming to Christ and being expelled from their village has played out time and again in Laos, but this time was different. Amazingly, district officials went to the village heads and told them to stop persecuting the Christians. They were able to remain in their homes and continue worshipping. That was not the case in another village, where a young couple faced expulsion.

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January 27, 2022
Since a military coup plunged Burma (Myanmar) into chaos one year ago, the gospel has advanced even as violence and COVID-19 paralyzed the country. “COVID-19 killed 413 Christian ministers within four months, some of them close friends and relatives,” the leader said. “Among our missionaries, four caught COVID-19 and almost died, but they have been restored and have worked hard in soul-winning outreach.” One of the native missionaries nearly died in July, and since then he and his wife have planted a church, the leader said.
January 20, 2022
Leading Muslims to faith in Christ in Syria brings the discipleship challenge of helping them to withstand persecution, among other issues. Recently local missionaries stood with a woman whose husband and son were killed for refusing to deny Christ. “That is a hard thing,” the ministry leader said. “She says, ‘Every time I close my eyes, I see my husband and my son in front of me, how they killed them.’”
January 13, 2022
At a small nightclub in rural Peru, the blaring music was drowning out the message a local missionary was giving nearby at a three-day gospel event. Villagers asked the nightclub owner to turn the music off, and he grudgingly consented. He was further annoyed when the preacher and other Christians visited him the next day and invited him to attend that night’s evangelistic event.
January 6, 2022
A single mother in North Africa phoned native missionaries, telling them the pandemic had left her without stable income – one of hundreds of such calls of desperation that local ministries receive. “But her voice, mixed with tears and moans, said this was not her biggest problem,” the leader of the native ministry said. The leader learned the woman’s husband had abandoned her eight years ago, leaving her so destitute that four years ago she had sold one of her kidneys to pay basic living expenses.
December 30, 2021
Hala feared a dream about her feet bleeding meant she was going to fall ill. After several months as a refugee in a Middle Eastern country, the young woman from Syria had been learning about Christianity from a native missionary, and she called him after waking from the frightening dream. “When I woke up, I was afraid,” she said. “Was something bad going to happen to me?”
December 23, 2021
Arafa had been in charge of teaching Islam to women in an African country when a native missionary led the recently widowed woman to receive Christ. Her Muslim in-laws not only beat her but began a campaign in the courts to deprive her and her family of their legal property rights, the leader of a native ministry said. The relatives were especially furious as her conversion led to her nine children and four grandchildren becoming Christians.
December 16, 2021
“Because she was so desperate, she wanted to commit suicide by drinking insecticide,” a ministry leader said of a schoolteacher in Vietnam. She had a handsome young husband, was raising two young children and was in so much pain that she wanted to kill herself. “When holding the bottle of insecticide intending to drink it,” the leader said, “her two children were holding her and hugging her and crying.”
December 9, 2021
The pastor of a native ministry’s church in Kenya was returning home from a visit with troubled villagers in the dark of night when four young men stopped him. He was known as the one people went to when they had any problem, but the four robbers who stopped him saw him only as a lone target in the dark. “Four young men ambushed him and wanted to rob him, but after one recognized him, he stopped the other three,” the director said.
November 25, 2021
A Christian ministry in Greece helped a traumatized refugee mother from the Middle East obtain an appointment with a psychologist, but she also wanted to speak woman-to-woman with one of the ministry’s two directors. The refugee had left her four children, ages 4 to 13, behind. “She left her country running, trying to rescue herself,” the director said. “Her kids didn’t blame her.”
November 18, 2021
The pope’s historic visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of 1,000 Bibles. “The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” a ministry leader said.
November 11, 2021
“We have had to see people die and go with the Lord, including local missionaries from our ministry, and we’ve comforted many loved ones,” the leader of a ministry based in Colombia said. Christian workers in Colombia and other parts of Latin America have become soldiers in the fight against COVID-19, with some dying in the effort to save others physically and spiritually. “We thank God that up to now He has helped and supported us in everything,” the leader said, “despite difficult circumstances and harsh experiences.”
November 4, 2021
Invited to a local missionary’s house for dinner with other Christians in Vietnam, Thuan was surprised when they were somehow warm, fun and friendly without the drinking or opium-smoking common in his village. “He had heard the gospel from the local missionary many times, but he didn’t like hearing it,” the leader of a native ministry said. Thuan could not know that accepting the dinner invitation would set him on a journey to prison.