Discipleship in Laos

Ellyn S. | Laos

Jesus modelled a style of small group discipleship for a reason: because it works. In the Western Hemisphere, it is not uncommon to find church leaders co-mentoring each other and discipling others around them. Youth are told to seek out adults they admire and to learn from them, and professionals stepping into new jobs are encouraged to do the same.

These sometimes formal, sometimes informal methods of discipleship are a part of church development and are critical to seeing new believers grow in their faith, raising up new leaders, and the church as a whole growing. Yet in many countries in the global south, churches are lacking in resources and personnel to disciple their own believers.

In Laos, an OM team is working with several locals in a weekly bible study to provide a firm foundation for their faith and draw them closer to God and His Word.

“They have so many questions about God because the teaching they receive in church is often watered down or the prosperity gospel taught, and is not always truth based on God’s word,” an OM worker John* explains of the five young Lao he is discipling. "So often in the west we think that we will come and evangelise people, but actually what they need is someone to give them a good foundation for their faith and to allow them to go out and reach their own people."

Through the weekly bible studies, John and his wife meet with young Lao believers, guiding them through studying the bible and discussing topics to deepen and strengthen their faith.

“I’ve seen them change in their thinking,” John said as he described one girl who heard something taught at church that struck her as unsound theology. She brought the question into their bible study that week, and the group was able to discuss for themselves what the right thing to do was.

“This place is a safe place for them to ask questions and to learn to discover the answers for their questions in God’s word,” John explained.

Ailani* and Kieli* are two sisters in the bible study, who became believers while living and training with another Christian training programme. The girls grew up in a village household where spirits were worshipped and fear was a normal part of life; especially the fear of sickness.

While in training provided by an OM partner organisation, both girls were deeply impacted by the Christian teaching and made decisions to follow Christ.

“I used to ask my mother why, if the evil spirits make people sick, do we thank them for healing?” Ailani said. “My mother had no answer for me.” Now she and her sister have found a job that allows them to work and live together, and to continue in the weekly bible studies offered by OM staff.

Pray that more Lao will have the opportunity to hear God’s truth and to be changed by it, and that the local church can be strengthened through its own members experiencing a Jesus-modelled form of discipleship.

*names changed

Published: Thursday, 27 April 2017
Credit: Ellyn S.
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