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A 53-year-old Lao pastor remains behind bars after police arrested him on June 6 for encouraging others to convert to Christianity. The arrest of Asa, identified by only a single name, took place at his home in Peeyeur village, Luang Namtha Province. Police then drove Asa to the Luang Namtha provincial prison, some 50 kilometres away -- too far to allow visits from concerned family members or friends who have limited access to road transport. If normal procedure had been followed, police would have held Asa in a village or district prison for three days while they investigated charges against him.

On June 7, Khamla, a prominent Christian leader in the province, met with police and discovered that Asa had been charged with leading people to Christ. Two years ago police forced Asa to sign documents agreeing that he would neither proclaim Christ nor lead people to Christianity. This year, however, many people in Peeyeur and surrounding villages, touched by Asa's life and testimony, have accepted Christ. Authorities in southern Laos have also continued to threaten, interrogate and arrest Christians.

Praise the Lord for Asa's faithfulness in spreading the gospel. Pray that he will rely on the Lord to give him the words to say when he stands before accusing authorities (Matthew 10:19). Pray that, even now, he will be a witness for Jesus.

Go to the Laos Country Report for more on persecuted Christians in Laos.