From the Kids of Courage archives
Ber grew up in Laos, a country in Southeast Asia. After Communists took control of their country, many in Laos fled to Thailand. Christians fled because they knew that the government would persecute them for their faith.
Ber was not a Christian; in fact, he hated Christians. But he fled to escape the poor conditions in Laos.
Escaping was risky. Some people died trying to cross the Mekong River between Laos and Thailand. But Ber made it safely to a refugee camp in Thailand. (“Refugees” are people who flee to a place of safety.)
The camp in Thailand was not a clean, healthy place to live, and it was often boring for young men like Ber. He hoped to find a way to go to America.
Ber’s New Bible
Like Ber, most of the people in Laos did not follow Jesus. Many are Buddhists; some are spirit worshipers.
One day, some Christians came to the camp and gave the refugees New Testaments printed in the Lao language. Many of the refugees had never seen a Bible.
Ber had no desire to read a Bible, but he took one anyway. He liked to get things that didn’t cost him anything.
Ber found a way to use the pages of his new Book to help him with an unhealthy habit. He tore a page out, put some tobacco in it, rolled it up, and smoked it! He smoked his way through the Gospels, Paul’s letters, and the rest of the New Testament, one page at a time.
After he finished smoking Revelation, he was out of pages. He asked other refugees for a new Bible, but no one had a spare copy to give him.
“There is a Bible study here,” a friend told him. “Why don’t you go and see if they can give you a new Bible?”
So Ber went to the Bible study, where he received a new Bible. But after listening to the Christians talk about Jesus, he repented of his sins and received a new life in Christ! Then he wanted to begin reading the Bible instead of smoking it.
Sneaking Back In
Ber was happy to be a Christian, but he was sad that his family in Laos did not know the truth about Jesus. So while others were risking their lives to sneak out of Laos, Ber risked his life to sneak back in!
Laos is not always a safe and comfortable place to spread the gospel. Christians have been arrested and the worship services raided. Sometimes Christians are kicked out of their homes and villages if they refuse to deny Christ.
Ber is glad that his family believed the message that he risked his life to bring them. They also became new believers in Christ.
The police began to watch Ber, but he pressed on to share the gospel carefully. He also got married, had two sons, and quit smoking!
Note: December 2nd is National Day in Laos. Laos became independent from France in 1953. A Communist government took control of Laos in 1975. National Day celebrates the beginning of Communist rule.
(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)