In Laos where the purchase of the Bible remains a luxury for the 3.3% Christians, Scriptures are going to those in need – thanks to supporters of Bible Societies.
Life in the landlocked Republic of Laos is basic and under Communist rule. But its Christian population has more than doubled in the last 10 years to more than 200,000.
Thaungxay Sanyahak – a reserved man, expresses joy beyond human understanding in his circumstances as a Christian.
In 1988, Thaungxay married Chanda, a strong believer in Christ. He respected her Christian way of life and became a Christian. But he admits he did not take his new faith to heart.
One day, a significant event caused him to encounter God.
Thaungxay recalled, “My boat capsized on the river during military training. I made it back to the river bank but all my belongings including my gun, machete and identity card disappeared.”
Soldiers who lose their weapons are severely punished, and would lose their jobs. Thaungxay was the sole breadwinner in his family.
He was distressed and confided in Chanda. She called her mother and they prayed.
“I had never really felt God as a tangible presence and found it very difficult to pray. Yet, I prayed with my wife and mother-in-law.”
Three days later, Thaungxay found his belongings lying on the riverbank, in perfect condition. This miracle led him to read his Bible and pray daily.
“The Bible became my new weapon,” Thaungxay exclaimed, believing that God is His protector.
Challenges to his faith
But life is not easy for Thaungxay Sanyahak, a soldier and Christian in Laos.
His family was ostracised in many villages. They finally found a village to settle in, and were encouraged by a visiting pastor. But the pastor’s kindness cost him his life – he was murdered on his way home. The family cried out to the Lord in despair and God sent the village chief who offered them a plot of land to build a house, along with a supportive community who gave them free bamboo for building.
Unfortunately, the house they built was burnt down and they lost all possessions. But the Lord provided a church that contributed money, clothing and other basic necessities.
As a Christian, Thaungxay is unlikely to be promoted in the army and his family members struggle to get by. Not all his children are able to attend school. His 14-year-old son is an ‘A’ student but had to withdraw from the state school as his father could not pay his fees.
Yet, Thaungxay is joyful in giving…
More blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)
Despite the challenges, his family does not lose heart but is renewed day by day as they put their hope in the Word of God (2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV).
Thaungxay seizes every opportunity to share his faith with others. Besides the two Bibles in the house belonging to his family, there are several New Testaments that he bought to give to friends.
Source: United Bible Socieities