For Khmu Christians in Laos, a shortwave radio is a lifeline to the outside world. The Khmu are some of the poorest people in Laos, and they subsist on the simple crops they farm in small, remote villages. Most of them are animists who worship their ancestors. Those who give up the traditional religious practices to follow Jesus Christ are labeled as traitors and followers of an evil, Western religion. Family pressure to recant can be immense, and coupled with pressure from their community and village leaders, some Khmu Christians renounce their faith.
With little money, little possibility to travel outside their village and little opportunity to meet others from outside their village, Khmu believers rely on radio programs to learn about Jesus. In a small village in Luangprabang province, seven families began to gather every evening to listen to a Christian program broadcast by Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC). The families are very poor and face severe persecution, but they gain strength by meeting together and listening to the broadcast. The families often call the radio station, a VOM partner, at 9 p.m. when the program is over. They say, “Thank you so much for your message tonight. It is so good, and we invited unbelievers to listen with us. Sometimes six or seven people come, and they are very interested in the messages.”
In a year’s time, the group has grown by 11 families. Last November, this house church received help in expanding the pastor’s house so there would be enough room for everyone to sit during meetings.
But following Jesus often brings great hardship. One of the group’s leaders, “Jaeh,” became a believer about a year ago after listening to Christian radio programs. This past June, his parents told him that if he did not stop believing in Jesus, listening to the radio programs, leading people to Jesus and holding worship services, he was no longer welcome in their home. So Jaeh and his wife left the family home.
The Khmu grow rice, and at harvest time they save enough for the whole year. When Jaeh left, his parents did not give him any rice, and it was too late for him to plant his own crop. Although Jaeh continued to help his parents with the farm, they did not give him any rice at harvest time.
Shortly afterward, the Lao government decided to relocate the village in order to build a road. When the village moved, Jaeh and his wife were not allowed to move to the new location. So now Jaeh and his wife are separated from their community of believers.
“These are just some of the Christians in Laos today that are facing constant fear,” a VOM contact said. “To be a Christian means to risk their life. But it is worthwhile to risk their life for the true God, who loves them, gives his life to them as redemption, gives forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life. What else can be counted! Please pray for Jaeh, his wife and the 26 others, that they would stand firm in the Lord in their faith, and know that Jesus is their powerful God.”
Source: Voice of the Martyrs