Laos is one of the world’s few remaining communist countries and one of Asia’s poorest. Nearly 80 percent of Laotians live in rural areas where they make a living growing rice and coffee. Laos is home to Khonee Papeng, Southeast Asia’s largest waterfall, and the country has made ambitious efforts to become a leader in hydropower.
Malnutrition is a critical issue in Laos, with stunting affecting over 30 percent of children under five. While a Lao child goes to school for 10.8 years on average, she or he only receives the equivalent of 6.4 years of learning.
We were never intended to live in poverty, divided against one another, with little hope for peace. In the Kingdom of God, poverty, violence, division, and hopelessness will not exist. We believe the Church is God’s primary transforming agent in the world, and that the local church exists to make its community more like the Kingdom of God.
We partner with local indigenous leaders as they minister to the communities and cultures that they themselves are from. We start projects and programs in the hardest places and set up a plan for them to be self-sustaining in order for them to know independence and the value of reinvesting in their own communities.
Read on to learn how communities are being transformed in Laos.
We have been working with our partners in Laos since 1995. Holistically ministering to the peoples of the Mekong River Delta (spread throughout several countries), our partners in Southeast Asia are planting churches, discipling believers, and developing leaders. With a strong belief that all of life is sacred and spiritual, our partners in Southeast Asia are building bridges to minister to communities through vocation training, entrepreneurship, and leadership training—reconciling the concept of work to God's intent in creation.
Mission ONE is engaged with leadership in Laos by providing training that helps them to follow Jesus with their whole lives. Economics, cultural contextualization, and leadership are a few topics covered by Mission ONE Training.
Jesus' life, death, and resurrection carry more collective and cosmic tones in Southeast Asia than we often perceive it does in the United States. Cultures largely influenced by Buddhism have stronger family and communal ties, meaning a decision to follow Jesus is often made as a group. It is easier for people from Southeast Asia to see the way the gospel addresses the conflict between different groups of people. Because of these dynamics, the Church is uniquely equipped to care for the needs of refugees and the poor.
Working with local leaders in Laos, Mission ONE addresses the important topics of honor, shame, and what the gospel says about these cultural influences.
To learn more about how honor and shame interact with the Bible and how this affects our Western theology, check out The Global Gospel, written by Mission ONE Vice President, Werner Mischke.