Three U.S. citizens who were detained for distributing Bibles and other Christian materials in Southeast Asia have been released.
The volunteers with a Wyoming-based Christian organization called Vision Beyond Borders were arrested on April 8 by police in the country of Laos. Gina Goh with International Christian Concern explains that their passports were confiscated and they were detained in a guesthouse. The U.S. Embassy in Laos intervened to help the Americans – and on April 18, the ministry announced that the three were deported to neighboring Thailand.
Goh says government leaders in the Buddhist-majority country are suspicious of other religions and seek to regulate them.
"What they did was simply distribute Bibles," she explains, "and it is really out of love that they took on this risky mission because they feel like these people need to hear about [the] gospel. So they took on the trip anyway."
Vision Beyond Borders identifies the three Americans only as "Wayne, Autumn, and Joseph."
Goh tells OneNewsNow that prayers are also needed for Laotian Christians as they struggle with the lack of religious freedom while facing scrutiny from the government.
"Although religious freedom is enshrined in the Laos Constitution … just like many other communist countries it's more on paper only," Goh laments.
She says it is important for Christians in the country to know that they are not alone and have support of believers around the world.