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"We need to destroy it!"
In restricted nations around the world, Bibles are burned, shredded or confiscated every day.

In the nation of Laos, Christians have been persecuted since communists seized control in 1975.

Somchi-09-15

Top leaders of the Lao Evangelical Church, the only legal Evangelical church, do not report incidents of persecution to their government for fear of losing their status as church leaders. So where do persecuted Christians among the Lao, the Khmu, the Bru and the Hmong turn for protection? They turn to Jesus, “the author and fnisher of our faith.”

The events described in this feature have all occurred. To protect our brothers and sisters in the small nation of Laos, we have changed names and omitted dates and locations.

I will follow Jesus

Somchi, a young Khmu woman, handed us an unusual package — a burned Bible in a plastic bag.

The Bible was still wet from the rain, but we separated and dried the pages. Here is Somchi’s story in her own words:

I became a Christian five years ago along with my mother, who was a widow. We were baptized in 2006 at the same time. We were the only Christians in our village of about 50 families.

Every Sunday my mother and I would walk one kilometer down to a village in our nice clothes with our Bibles. The people in our village would ask, “Where are you going?”

We would tell them, “We are going to the house church to worship God.”When we walked back they would say, “Hey, I saw that you went to worship every weekend. How much money did you get from them?”

I replied, “I don’t go there for any money. I go there to worship for eternal life.”

When my mother got sick and was about to die, the villagers came to me and mocked me. They said, “Where is your God? Call Him now to come and rescue your mother because you walk and worship Him every weekend; you love Him.”

My mother was so sick they moved her to my grandfather’s house to care for her. One day when I was not home, the head of the village with his followers came to our house. They went through the house and took everything that was Christian. They saw my Bible. I learned that they said, “Because of this book her mother is sick. We need to destroy it.” They took the books outside, the Bible, a song book and some other literature, and burned them.

Some children came to me and said, “Somchi, they burned your Bible but the rain came and put out the fire.” When I heard about this, I ran and saw my burned Bible on the ground.

I said, “Oh Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” Then the people came and mocked me. On Sunday I walked to the house church and told them about this. They gave me a new Bible and a new song book.

Later my mother died, so I am the only Christian in our village. Now I live with my sister’s family. My sister’s house is very small. They let me sleep in a corner. They try to force me to work on Sunday. I told her, “No, I have Monday to Saturday to work for you, but only Sunday let me go and worship.”

My sister said, “If you go and worship, who will provide food for you? You have to provide food for yourself.” My sister threatens me, but I never miss worship.

I wake up early in the morning to tend the fire and steam the rice. Then I have time to read, and then again in the evening before I go to bed. I really love and always remember John Chapter 3, verse 16, “For God so loved the world.”

When I finish reading the Scripture, I put it in a bag and hang it on the wall on a hook by my bed. My sister saw this, but no one touches my Bible. They are afraid to touch it.

I like to sing and praise the Lord, but I don’t have a good voice. Every time I sing it makes people refreshed. One song that moves me is about the Prodigal Son, “The Son has left the Father,” like when we … were separated from God, but now our lives come back to God. I wrote the song by myself. Pray for my life and especially for my sister, who tries to force me to work on Sundays. The house church Christians, more than 40 people, in the other village are praying for me.

My villagers still hate me and mock me like they mocked Jesus on the cross. It is the world’s right to hate us or love us. But for me, I will follow Jesus because I read in the Bible what He says, that the world will hate you.

Originally published in a Voice of the Martyr's. Newsletter, September 2010.

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