Seventh-day Adventists in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos have recently reached several milestones in their mission initiatives, regional Adventist leaders reported. They said they are happy to share some of the results of what they believe have been successful outreach programs across the country.
Urban Mission Success
Inspired by the “Mission to the Cities” and “Urban Centers of Influence” initiatives introduced by the world church’s Adventist Mission organization, local churches in Laos’s capital city, Vientiane (population: 950,000), developed new strategies and centers to share the Adventist lifestyle with people living there.
Recently, a business owner and family learned about Jesus Christ through the urban outreach of the church. In April 2021, they decided to commit their lives to God through baptism. People joining the church in Laos often come from rural areas, minority groups, or people with economic challenges. This baptism marks new success in the mission to reach the majority group and urban, middle, and upper-class people in Vientiane.
“This occasion inspired the church to increase its outreach activities to bring its message of hope to rural dwellers and those in the cities as well,” Adventist leaders reported. “Church members are designing new strategies to bring the Adventist message and lifestyle closer to the public.”
Church leaders and members shared that one such plan is a mobile book shop, using a minivan to bring Adventist books and other health and lifestyle resources to the community. “Young people are also excited to be a part of the initiative. They have developed sports and social group meetings to foster friendship among attendees,” church leaders shared. Church members in Vientiane also plan to offer free classes in English, music, and multimedia.
Historic Baptisms in Rural Laos
April 2021 also brought new growth and mission effectiveness in the rural work in Laos. After more than 200 individuals expressed their openness in learning more about Jesus, unprecedented baptisms took place among the Hmong tribe. These baptisms came from one village in the province of Salavan, about 420 miles (more than 670 km) southeast of Vientiane, and in another district close to 170 miles (more than 270 km) northeast of the capital.
These places are home to Adventist communities whose members have experienced persecution in the past. Despite the challenges, church members remained steadfast, and today the church is reaching out to communities with the message of hope and healing in Jesus.
“In the village, over 120 individuals were baptized. There were no pools or rivers nearby, but the members got creative and fashioned a baptistry out of an inflatable swimming pool. In the district, 80 villagers committed their lives to Jesus following the baptism of a village chief several months earlier,” the regional church reported.
Church leaders believe these baptisms among the Hmong tribe are seen as a significant step forward for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Laos.
Laos is bordered by Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Two out of three people are Buddhists, and Christianity accounts for just 1.5 percent of the population. There are more than 1,000 Adventists, four officially organized churches, and many house congregations scattered in 14 out of the 18 provinces of this country of seven million.