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20_Laos

LAOS

#20
Region East and Southeast Asia
Leader President Bounnhang Vorachit
Population 7 038 000
Christian 3.2%
Main Religion Buddhism
Government Communist State
Rank 20
Score 67
Previous Rank 24
Previous Score 64

“This is a hard place for Christians, but I believe God is working. If we focus only on what we see, we will be discouraged.”

Christians make up about 2% of the population in Laos. There is some freedom for Christians to meet in more developed areas, but in the rural regions, many find themselves harassed, isolated and even imprisoned.

Abandoning tribal traditions to become a Christian is seen as a betrayal. Believers are often chased out of their villages and even forced to live in the jungle. Their families think their faith will anger the spirits and even blame them for sickness.

Buddhism plays a big part in society and is central to Lao culture. Christianity is seen as something foreign and a threat to their way of life. Believers must be very careful when living out their faith.

Building new churches are almost impossible as government approval is needed, and extensive amounts of paperwork required. Since Laotian homes are small, trying to worship in secret is impossible. If someone converts to Christianity their spouse can threaten divorce, and their families can cut them off from their inheritance.

As a result of the negative views about Christianity, believers are often limited when accessing resources. They can be denied employment and acceptance into schools.

Through local partners and churches, Open Doors comes alongside believers when they suffer physical attacks and expulsion from their families and communities for choosing to follow Christ. Persecuted believers are strengthened through the provision of Christian materials, leadership training, discipleship programmes, and more.

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