Laos

World Watch Ranking: 26

How many Christians are there in Laos?

Christians are a minority in Buddhist-majority Laos. In a population of just under 7.2 million, there are only around 203,000 believers.

What does persecution look like in Laos?

Christian freedom in Laos is severely curtailed by the intense monitoring of the Communist authorities.

House churches that do not have administrative approval are considered "illegal gatherings" and must operate underground. Majority of registered churches do not have permanent church structures and must conduct worship services in homes.


The brunt of persecution is reserved for converts to Christianity, who are deemed guilty of betraying the Buddhist-animist traditions of their community. They frequently face pressure and violence from their families and the local authorities, both of whom will stir up opposition from the local community or religious leaders. This can lead to converts being expelled from the village.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Provinces such as Luang Namtha, Phongsaly and Houphan in the north, and Khammuane and Savannakhet in the south, have traditionally been difficult places for Christians to live. The local authorities in these areas still seem determined to silence Christian witness. 

Meet "Soy"

Soy was imprisoned at age 14, along with other believers. They refused to deny Jesus when pressured by the authorities. After being released, Soy encountered further challenges; she was bullied at school and her teachers ignored her.

“After I accepted Jesus Christ, I felt like a normal person. My heart and soul were completely healed! However, my happiness was crushed because of harsh persecution. My friends and my non-believing cousins hate me and say mean things to me.”

Soy

What has changed compared to last year?

Despite Laos dropping four places on the World Watch List, the situation for Christians remains largely unchanged. While fewer Christians were arrested compared to last year, an increasing number of converts are being displaced from their homes as they face rejection by their villages. The pandemic also made gathering information more difficult, so the reality may be more severe than reported.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Laos?

Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen persecuted believers in Laos by providing Christian materials, leadership and discipleship training, socio-economic development programs, advocacy support and emergency relief.  

 How can you pray for Laos?

  • Pray that all imprisoned Christians will be strengthened in body, mind and spirit. Pray for their imminent release.
  • Pray for Christians to find favor with local religious leaders and government officials.
  • Pray for the protection of Open Doors partners and for wisdom as they serve our family in Laos.
a PRAYer for Laos

Dear Lord Jesus, please give Your children strength to stand firm against the pressure many of them face. Protect house churches from surveillance and restriction, and guard pastors from detention. Provide for families and churches whose pastors have been imprisoned. Bring an end to the trafficking of women to China and minister Your healing to all those in need of it today. Thank You for Your faithful church in Laos. May Your people continue to grow in faith and witness. Amen.


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Map thumbnail
Persecution Level

Very High


Persecution Type
  • Communist and post-Communist oppression
  • Clan oppression
  • Dictatorial paranoia
Population of Christians
203,000 (2.8%)

Main Religion
Buddhism

Government
Communist State

Leader
President Thongloun Sisoulith