One of the world’s few remaining communist states. A poor, ethnically diverse, staunchly Buddhist nation and a harsh place for followers of Christ. This is Laos.
Historically at the mercy of powerful nations like Vietnam, Burma and Thailand, the Kingdom of Laos became a part of French Indochina. The nation was drawn into the American war (as the Vietnam war is called in Southeast Asia) and holds the sad world record of "most bombed country". More bombs were dropped on Laos than during World War II. At that time the royal family was the most ancient dynasty of humankind. In 1975, the nation became communist and extremely isolationist.
Landlocked Laos is a remote and mountainous landscape, widely covered by unspoiled tropical forests. Less than 5% of the land is suitable for agriculture, yet almost 90% of the population live from farming. Laos qualifies as a "least developed country” by UN standards, is the poorest country in the region and amongst the poorest in the world. Economic reforms in recent years have fostered growth in the private business sector, and growth rates in 2013 were projected to be amongst the highest in the world.
The main crop is rice, which is grown on the fertile floodplains in the river valleys. Vegetables, fruit, spices, coffee and cotton are also cultivated. As a part of the region's drug producing "Golden Triangle", Laos has vigorously fought opium production and is now deemed “opium free”. Outside the cities, the majority live without access to basic facilities like clean water, electricity and medical services.
The dominant people group in the country (approx. 51%) are the Lao. The rest of the population comprises a complex mix of 138 groups with distinct cultures and often their own language.
The country is largely Buddhist, the form practiced intertwined with animist elements.
There are officially 18,000 Christians in Laos. But many more meet in secret house churches. Continuous reports of Christians being mistreated, imprisoned and some even being killed because of their faith, place Laos among the top persecutors of Christians in the world. Missions is officially not allowed in the country, requiring creative means such as “tent makers” and business projects to stay in the country and reach out to the community. In spite of persecution, the church is growing.
OM Laos is a diverse, creative, joyful team. We equip and encourage young people and leaders in Laos to become more like Jesus through business and partnerships. In all we do, we are attentive to God and dependent on Him. OM has had a presence in Laos since 2005 and currently has a team of 24 national and international workers undertaking ministry through various avenues.
We run two businesses to create space for free interaction, artistic expression, educational exchange and most vital, spiritual encounters. Our businesses also provide opportunities for the employment and discipleship of local believers.
Our outreach programme consists of various activities and partnerships with a number of other ministries. For example, the ladies on our team volunteer at a centre working among marginalised women who have been trafficked or rescued from the sex trade. Short-termers train church workers in children’s ministry and team members sing worship songs in a public location to ignite conversations.
We host prayer nights, inviting local believers to pray for world missions. In a communist country this is quite out of the ordinary!
Various training programmes are undertaken which encourage believers and equip them with skills relevant to their context.
All team members are challenged to build personal relationships and share their faith through friendships as the Holy Spirit leads them.
For more information: email@example.com
Our team is awesome! We have fun and are united in prayer. Pray that this won’t change.
Pray that as we receive more local team members, we can equip them for ministry.
Laos is a closed country. But our biggest constraint to expanding our ministry is - like any other field - money and people! As our team grows and new ministry opportunities open up, pray that the Lord will provide all the finances needed to grow and develop.
To financially support us click here http://www.om.org/en/give
Support our local staff: 7 People, average US$200 per month (per person).
Help us cover our annual rent: US$10,000 per year (just under US$900 per month). Our 3-storey building accommodates our two businesses, training rooms and the office.
Our Top Recruiting Needs are:
Adventurer with entrepreneurial skills (Business Manager)
Travel Agent: Short Term Coordinator
Visit us here http://www.om.org/en/opportunities to see job descriptions for these exciting opportunities
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org