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Smoking Through the Bible

From the Kids of Courage archives

Ber grew up in Laos, a country in Southeast Asia. After Communists took control of their country several years ago, 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!

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!

(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.)


Laos: Arrested for Celebrating Christmas

Children in Laos reading about Jesus

Last year, some Christians in Laos invited their entire village to a Christmas celebration. As part of the celebration, they showed a video about the life of Jesus.

Authorities in the area did not like the idea of more villagers learning about Jesus. They arrested six Christians and put them in jail. The Christians were not released until January 31st of this year.

Every year, Christians in some countries risk getting arrested if they celebrate the birth of Jesus. Pray for protection for the Christians, and pray that their celebrations will lead many unbelievers to Christ.

(Source: VOM Canada)


Laos: Vang and Mee

Vang and Mee

The previous two posts told the stories of Vang and Mee, youth in Laos who decided to follow Christ. Since then, Vang and Mee got married, and they now have two children of their own.

One day, a stranger approached Mee while she was cooking a meal in her family’s small outdoor kitchen. The man was a government sniper, just like Mee’s father. (See the previous post.)

“I’m very sorry,” the man said. “I tried to shoot your husband two years ago. I shot and missed. Since then, I have been watching your husband do things and help people. He is a good man.”

Then he showed Mee a Bible he had stolen from their village. He said he was ashamed of shooting people, but had found hope in the Bible. “Your God is good,” he told Mee. “I can’t give this book back. I want to keep it. I am very sorry.”

Mee understood that the Holy Spirit was at work in the man’s heart. She prayed with him and told him she forgave him.

Under a new law, all religious activities in Laos must be approved by government offices, and permission is rarely given. “Any time we come together, they can arrest us,” Vang said. “Every time we go out, it could be the last time.

“God says to love others and have no fear,” Vang continued. “Why do we fear other people if we are supposed to love them? You have to have love in your heart and not see others as the enemy. I don’t see the government as the enemy. I don’t see any men as the enemy. I only see people who need love. We need to love them and do good to them like Jesus said. We should pray for them and bless them.”

(Source: November 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity and age appropriateness.)


Laos: Mee

Girls in Laos

Mee, like Vang in the previous post, grew up in Laos. Her neighbors were Communist Party leaders, and her father was a government sniper whose job was to shoot enemies of the government.

When Mee was 2 years old, her father died. Then when she was 14, she found out that she had thyroid cancer. After fighting the disease for five years, she felt hopeless when the doctors gave her three months to live.

Mee’s sister, who had become a Christian, encouraged Mee to go to church. At church, Mee prayed, “If You are really true, God, heal me, and I will serve you until I die.”

That night, she dreamed about two paths: a dark one and a light one. The dark path scared her. But on the light path she saw a man saying, “Come with me.” She walked toward Him and He touched her head, saying, “I love you like a daughter.”

“I could feel the love of the Father, which I never had before,” she recalled. “I talked to my sister about it. She read the Bible to me and I confessed that I wanted to believe.” At a medical checkup about a month later, Mee was stunned to learn that her cancer had disappeared.

But her struggles were not over. One day, a communist guard in her neighborhood pointed a gun at her forehead and said, “If you continue to be a Christian, I will kill you.”

“You can kill my body but not my spirit,” Mee told him. Surprised, the guard lowered his gun. He told Mee he would continue to watch her. Since that day, the threat of death doesn’t matter to Mee; she knows that without God’s miraculous healing she wouldn’t be alive anyway. Her life is in His hands.

(Source: November 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity and age appropriateness.)


Laos: Vang

Boys in Laos

Vang was a teen gang member in Laos. Besides joining his gang in violent activities, he drank a lot of alcohol and beat up his brothers and sisters. “It seemed like I had to be bad,” said Vang. He had no control over his own behavior.

A friend told Vang about a powerful God who created the world. Hoping to find a new life, Vang went to his friend’s church. After the service, the pastor explained how Jesus could change Vang’s life if he gave his life to Him.

“I will try Jesus for two months,” Vang thought to himself. “If He is not God, the pastor is a liar and I will burn the church down.”

Vang prayed a sincere prayer dedicating his life to God. “After I said ‘Amen,’ it felt like a wind came through me,” he said. “From that day, I’ve felt peace and joy.”

Vang’s parents kicked him out of their house when they found out he was a Christian, and he has continued to suffer persecution for his faith. But the peace and joy of Christ rule his life.

(Source: November 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity and age appropriateness.)