Before Khamphone became a Christian, he was a respected fortune-teller. He often helped villagers, including village elders and police officers, by consulting the spirits, and for this, he was rewarded with a piece of land to farm. He hired 20 workers to help him prepare the land for rice season.
In December 2022, Khamphone became a Christian. When this was discovered, the village leader told him he must recant his faith in Christ or lose his land. Khamphone has invested a great deal of money and effort into this land, but he does not want to renounce Christ. He said he has “put this burden in God’s hands.”
Christians in Laos often face persecution from their family members and village authorities as they are concerned that they will offend the spirits. Sixty percent of Laotians consider themselves to be Buddhists, but most practise a syncretistic version of Buddhism mixed with tribal animism.
Some in Laos, particularly those in government leadership, view Christianity as a foreign religion and a tool used by the West to undermine the communist Laotian regime. There are many house churches and some church buildings, but the vast majority do not have a trained pastor. Laotian authorities sometimes arrest Christians and detain them for up to a week in attempts to control Christian activity. Christians are commonly denied medical treatment as well as educational and other social services.