Couple kicked out of Lao village for accepting Christ; pastors detained

March 4, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

A couple have been thrown out of their village in Laos because of their conversion to Christianity, while three pastors have been detained, accused of spreading the faith.

Lao village officials frequently harass ChristiansLao, February 27, 2013: Sakien and his wife Dong were issued with an eviction order on 23 January by the chief of Chumpoy village, Sanamsai district, Attapeu province. They are currently being provided with temporary shelter in an unfinished church building, which has no walls, in Intee village. Sakien is in poor health and requires medical treatment.

The couple had converted to Christianity when they attended Intee village church earlier in January. They had been inspired to go by the testimony of their son and daughter-in-law, Sanien and Pitsamai. The young couple had gone to the church in December 2012 seeking prayer for physical healing for Pitsamai, who had complications relating to childbirth. She was healed, and the couple accepted Christ, prompting Sakien and Dong to seek prayer also.

Village and district officials frequently harass Christians in Laos; there have been numerous cases of believers, especially recent converts, being threatened with eviction – threats that are sometimes carried out.

Church leaders are also vulnerable. Three from Savannakhet province were detained by police on 5 February. The pastors, Bounma, Somkaew and Bounmee, had gone to a shop in Phin district market to make copies of a Christian DVD. While they were testing one of the copies, police came by the shop and saw them, along with the shop owner, watching it.

Three senior police officers were called to the scene and stormed the shop. They arrested the pastors and also took the shop owner in for questioning. He was later released, but Bounma, Somkaew and Bounmee remain in custody.

They are accused of spreading Christianity, though the pastors said that they had made only three copies of the DVD so that each could watch it in his own home.

The Lao authorities are very suspicious of the rapid spread of the Christian faith among ethnic minorities; they consider Christianity an American import that is a threat to national identity and unity.

– barnabas team

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