On Jan. 4, 2011, at 7 p.m., district police arrested Pastor Wanna at his home in Nakoon Village, Laos. They also arrested 10 other believers as they ate a meal together in Pastor Wanna’s home, which also serves as a house church. The Christians asked that they be allowed to finish their meal, but their request was denied. The believers were taken away at gunpoint.
The next day, two of the men were released. The other believers, including two children ages 4 and 8, were taken to Khammaouan Provincial Prison. Authorities charged them with conducting a secret meeting without approval.
Persecution against the Christians in Nakoon began in 2008, when several families became Christians and began to meet for worship in Pastor Wanna’s home. By 2009, 105 villagers were trusting Christ. Police had summoned Pastor Wanna to the police station for interrogation, telling him they would arrest him if he did not give up his Christian faith and stop influencing others to believe in God. But Pastor Wanna remained faithful to his calling.
In May 2010, Pastor Wanna was arrested, imprisoned and charged with leading other people to the Christian faith, thus destroying Lao customs and tradition. While Pastor Wanna was imprisoned, authorities put the believers in Nakoon through a re-education program. After completing the program, all the Nakoon believers were forced to sign an affidavit recanting their faith.
Pastor Wanna was released in October 2010. The authorities ordered him not to believe or observe the Christian faith. He was also told not to hold worship meetings in his home. As soon as he was released, Pastor Wanna resumed worship meetings.
In December 2010, Pastor Wanna informed village authorities that he would be holding a Christmas celebration on January 5, which was allowed according to the Department of Religious Affairs. But he was arrested the night before his Christmas celebration.
Please pray for the Lao believers who were arrested. Pray that their faith will not weaken, and pray that God will use this experience to deepen their commitment to him. Pray for Pastor Wanna, who as a leader is likely receiving the harshest treatment.