A group of Christians who were expelled from Katin village in January were again urged to recant their faith in Jesus Christ on March 15, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The believers have been living in makeshift shelters about 4 miles outside the village, where they were abandoned in January without food or shelter.
“At noon [on March 15] … seven Katin believers were summoned to the district office of Ta-Oyl district,” VOM contacts reported. “The district head of Ta-Oyl, Mr. Bounma, urged the Katin believers to reconsider their decision to follow the Christian faith.” When the Christians again refused to renounce their faith, the district head stated that although the Lao constitution and law provide for freedom of religion in Laos, he is not going to allow Christianity in his district. The Katin believers later learned that the officials planned to burn down their temporary shelters along with 11 temporary homes at the site where they were taken in January.
Several days after these threats from local officials, a delegation of provincial officials assured the believers that they are free to practice their religion and live anywhere in the district they choose. However, since the temporary shelters are on land owned by a neighboring village, officials could not guarantee the Christians they can remain at the site.
Praise God for these faithful believers and for the positive signs from provincial authorities. Pray that local authorities will allow these believers to return to their homes, and pray that the Christians will remain strong in their faith. Also pray for their safety and health; many are sick and in need of medical treatment.