Thursday, January 6, 2011

11 Lao Christians arrest; 3 still detained

Christians make up 3.4 percent of
Laos' population. Persecution against
them is often intense and ruthless.
Eleven Christians from Hinboun district, Khammouan Province, in Laos, were detained at gunpoint on Tuesday while gathering for a Christmas celebration in their village, reports Compass Direct News. Eight of the Christians, including children ages four and eight, were released yesterday and today.

Three house-church leaders remain behind bars for “holding a secret meeting,” said advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). The charge against them is a political offense punishable by law, HRWLRF said.

In December, Pastor Wanna, one of the house-church leaders, informed authorities that church members would gather at his home on Wednesday to celebrate Christmas. His notification was in line with official celebrations by the government-approved Lao Evangelical Church scheduled between December 5 and January 15.

On Tuesday, a truckload of district police officers with guns cocked and ready to shoot burst into Pastor Wanna’s house after dark, shouting, “Stop! Nobody move!” They then forcibly detained the 11 who were quietly sharing an evening meal and charged them with conducting a “secret meeting” without approval.

You can read the full report here.

Please pray for Lao Christians. At the local and village levels, they are targets, and persistent social pressure and the prevention of building new church buildings are two primary opposition strategies. Pray for perseverance and grace for those who must endure, especially those singled out by persecutors. Pray there would be an increased openness to evangelism throughout Laos.

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