Laos -- According to Open Door's semi-annual World Watch List, Laos is the third largest persecutor of believers. Communist government authorities accuse Christians of causing religious division, and in turn, tightly control their activities. FARMS International's Steve Salowitz says because of the atmosphere, their ministry has been stymied for the time being. "There's three countries that surround Thailand that are restricted. One of them [potential projects] we've held off and said 'you're better off not doing anything there unless you figure something out that would work because you don't want to bring unwanted persecution, or unwarranted persecution upon people'." Salowitz asks prayer for an open avenue of ministry. "[In] one of the countries, there's been cross border activity, where the people are actually benefiting from Farms' programs. They would like to do more, but we have held off with doing any more there." FARMS International is a Christian ministry that serves the church by equipping families in poverty with the means for self-support.
Myanmar -- It was there that a new contemporary Gospel of John was released this month. Walk Through the Bible's Roger Massey believes it will serve as a great tool for a spiritually hungry people. That also means there is a need for caution because: "We understand that Myanmar is a great deal like China in its views on Christianity and birthing and planting new Christian churches in the area....so, much of the work has to be done carefully." Massey explains that releasing the Gospel of John will be instrumental to the small but growing churches. "The government would be quick to move in and close down new works. It's much of the same problems that churches are facing in Russia and Eastern Europe when new Christians groups go in and start to try to establish a beachhead. But, what we're mainly concentrating on is getting the Word of God into this area in an easy-to-read format."
By Albert H. Lee