“Aelen” woke up one night to the sounds of someone burning her house down. Thankfully, she was able to grab her baby son and escape. Unfortunately, it was one of many hardships she’d been forced to face since deciding to leave her tribe’s traditional religion and follow Jesus instead.
Many in her village, including her family, perceived the change in her religious beliefs as an offence to their culture. Many Laotians believe Christianity is an American religion. When someone in the community becomes a Christian, the community worries that the spirits they worship will be offended, and that the community might also suffer ill-effects as a result.
Though she escaped the attempted arson of her home, Aelen’s problems weren’t yet over. A little while later, she visited her sister in another city for a while. When she came home, she found that her father and brother had moved into her home and were claiming it as their own.
Aelen went to the local authorities to complain. She then found out that the village headman had even issued her father a new property deed for her home. Further lobbying for justice at the local level and even provincial level hasn’t helped. It looks like Aelen will be forced to leave the village. When she asked her father how he could do such a thing to her, he told her, “Because you are a Christian.”
It’s not just young people who suffer like this.
An older gentleman, “Keowynn” and his wife and daughter were also recently evicted from their home, in this case by their own son. Keowynn is a key Christian leader in his area and he leads a church that he planted many years ago after he moved to an unreached region as a missionary.
In spite of Keowynn’s faithful example, his oldest son despises his parents’ faith. He also drinks and uses drugs. Much like the prodigal son in the Gospel of Luke, his son demanded his inheritance from his father and said that the house should be his portion. The conflict between the oldest son and the family has been ongoing for at least three years, and on March 15, 2017, the son finally forced his father, mother and sister from the home.
This is the thatch home Keowynn’s family are living under in the rice field.
Keowynn and his family are now living under a roof they erected in a rice field. It’s a tough life, but they don’t want to abandon the other believers in their community. They are afraid if they leave, the other believers will become too discouraged and renounce their faith. Please pray for both Aelen and Keowynn and their families. Other Christians in Laos are assisting them, but it’s difficult to lose home and family. Pray that they and other believers in Laos will stand firm in Christ, no matter what they encounter.
Posted: June 28, 2017
Updated: June 29, 2017