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Believers Arrested, Then Freed: Our God is Great!

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By Tom*, Asia Regional Director

Taa, a young man who is being discipled by our team and who is leading the small group of believers at a gas station in Bangkok, recently returned home to his village in a neighboring country, when his mother became seriously ill. His family came to faith around five years ago when his mother prayed to God and was healed. Since that time they have become leaders of the small fellowship in their village and have helped to introduce many of their friends and neighbors to Jesus. This time God did not heal his mother, but Taa wrote that as she was dying "my mother told us, 'Children, don't forget God. Love God.'" Taa is grateful that his mother is now with the Lord and is thankful for the support and prayers of his brothers and sisters in Christ.

RMM's team in Thailand has heard from friends in this neighboring country about the recent arrest of twenty-three believers in a small town close to Taa’s village. Although this country is communist, registered churches are allowed to meet in the larger cities, but small groups of believers in more rural areas are often harassed by local officials and ostracized by their neighbors. The police had warned the believers to stop meeting for worship and then jailed them when they continued to meet. Some of them were released, but eleven continued to be jailed after they refused to sign a document promising to withdraw from the church. Their families were allowed to visit them. While our team has not been working directly with any of those arrested, we have had some contact with them and our friends Lan and Taa know them well. Our team has stood with them by praying for their safety and release, for their families, and for the believers in that area to remain strong in their faith.

We had contact with Lan on June 8 and asked about the believers who had been imprisoned. He said that they had all been released. Praise God! In the end they were fined about $1,300 (as a group) and they are prohibited from using their recently constructed building. So, they are meeting in homes instead.

"...while they were in jail they shared their faith with other prisoners and two of them decided to follow Jesus! "Lan also reported that while they were in jail they shared their faith with other prisoners and two of them decided to follow Jesus! This is a striking reminder that the power of the gospel—and the ability of God’s people to share their faith—is not dependent on church buildings or official programs!

The believers in Taa’s village are still meeting and at this point are feeling fairly secure. Earlier, when they talked about constructing a building they were warned by the authorities that this would cause problems. So they have backed off from that plan and are still meeting in a home—although Lan did say that as they keep growing it’s getting crowded!

Our team in Thailand continues to meet with Taa and the other believers in Bangkok, and we stay in touch with Lan over the phone and though regular visits. This week Efrain and Sujen are spending time with him near his home. In spite of the many difficulties these brothers and sisters face—both in their home villages and as low-paid laborers in Thailand—it has been encouraging to see their faith in God and excitement for sharing the gospel.

Thanks for your continued prayers for these brothers and sisters.

*Last name and country name omitted for security reasons