A. THE COUNTRY
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a landlocked country in
southeast Asia. Laos is a single-party socialist republic where dissent
is suppressed and freedoms are limited. The Communist regime is opening
up the country for investment and private enterprise, and economic
growth is encouraging. The people are poor and subsistence agriculture
accounts for 80% of employment. Laos has become popular with tourists
for its relaxed style of living and reputation for having elements of
the “original Asia” lost elsewhere.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~6,437,000 and official language Lao. There is a
complex mix of 143 groups, compounded by government classifications
based on altitude of the home environment. ~59.2% are Lao-Tai, ~28.1%
Mon-Khmer, ~4% Hmong-Mien, ~2.7% Tibetan-Himalayan, ~5,3% Other
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
Buddhism is strong and is heavily combined with animism. Persecution of
Christians tends to happen in cycles and is expressed on a local or
regional level as much as on a national scale. In all cases, it can be
intense and ruthless. ~57.29% are Buddhist, ~34.7% Ethnoreligionist,
~4.2% Non-religious, ~3.38% claim to be Christian, ~0.3% Chinese, ~0.1%
Muslim, ~0.03% Baha’i.
In the Christian category:
~2.26% are Protestant, ~0.67% Catholics, ~0.44% Independent, ~0.01% are
Evangelicals represent ~2.6% of the population.
Charismatics represent ~0.8% and of those 0.1% are Pentecostals.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.