Authorities in Laos arrested two Hmong Christians seeking permission to share the Gospel message. One of the two men, Visay, spoke to VOM workers shortly after his release, while his friend remained in prison.
Visay is passionate about sharing his faith with others. In order to learn more about his faith, he decided to attend Bible school. There he learned “to have strong and deep faith,” and says the support he found at Bible school helped him endure the unexpected arrest.
Part of his graduation requirements were to complete a ministry project. As an enthusiastic young believer, Visay decided to visit 11 Hmong villages in Laos. He intended to ask villagers a series of survey questions in hope that it would give him an opportunity to share his faith in Jesus. His friend, David, a fellow student, agreed to help with the ministry project.
Before visiting the first village, Visay sought permission to visit from the leader. Outsiders are generally not welcome in rural tribal villages, and he wanted to ensure he did things properly. When he called the leader, the village head told him he needed to come in person. At the last minute, Visay couldn’t go, so he asked David to go on his behalf.
Police sent to arrest him
When David arrived, the village leader vaguely told him to start the survey with some village members. It was a ruse. Within 30 minutes, four policemen came to arrest him. They took David to the police station in the nearest city.
The next day, Visay went to try to convince them to let David go. Instead, police arrested Visay. Prison conditions were difficult. Prisoners had a bed and a fan, but there were few windows in the concrete structure. The only food was a small bowl of rice delivered twice a day.
Fortunately, Visay spent only two days in prison. His brother paid the fine so that Visay could be released. David, however, received a longer prison sentence, in part because he shared his plans during a police interview. “He said that after he graduates from Bible school, he will come and set up a Christian conference for 5,000 Hmong in Laos,” Visay said.
The police were highly concerned that if Christians organised events among the Hmong, the tribal people might all convert to Christianity and refuse to submit to communist dictates, so they kept David in prison for several months.
According to the VOM field worker for the region, believers who grow up in a district or province where persecution isn’t as severe can be unaware of what the situation is like for other believers elsewhere. So the believers may make decisions that seem unwise because they don’t know what is happening in other areas. “However,” said the field worker, “it’s the poor and simple of this world who are often so strong in their faith.”
A strong testimony
Visay and David’s strong faith carried them through, and neither were deterred by the adversity they faced. Both Visay and David graduated from Bible school and are now actively sharing the Gospel in Laos. Visay says that the experience “gave me more boldness and understanding how to do ministry in this country.”
Continue to pray for the believers in Laos living under these conditions. Pray for spiritual growth and wisdom, along with boldness.
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