I recently returned from meetings in Thailand focusing on history of the church in Laos. God has truly done some amazing things in that country. Laos still faces difficult times, with some sisters and brothers in Christ facing persecution, yet God is at work. It strengthens our faith when we recall how God has directly intervened in the past.
For example, Christ’s church in southern Laos grew among the rejects of society. A strong church grew up among the population with leprosy. Because of their disease they settled in villages which had been set up for others with the dreaded disease. Missionaries treated them there and allowed them to experience the love of Jesus Christ.
Another group, the “Phi Pop,” was accused of being possessed by evil spirits. Sometimes spirit possession did occur; at other times individuals or families were simply accused by rivals. Just the accusation forced them to leave the village. They set up their own “Phi Pop” villages. People here were particularly receptive to the message of Jesus Christ. In fact, for the average lowland Lao in southern Laos, Christianity became known as the “Phi Pop religion.” Whereas so much of our outreach efforts focus on people with means, Jesus still targets the rejects of society. As one person has said, “If the church will go after the people no one wants, it will end up with the people everyone wants.” A strong foundation was laid for a vital church still growing in Laos today.