Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
It was April 24, 1961 and I was alone in a remote village in Laos. News had come that rebel soldiers led by the Viet Kong were advancing toward Muong Phine, and my supervisor had told me to leave. But I had been singing the Hallelujah Chorus out loud all evening as I packed. God had answered my prayers that I would see Boon Yaw and Somjit before I left.
That afternoon, fourteen-year old Boon Yaw, a new Christian, had come to visit, and I had given him my manually-operated phonograph and gospel records. Later, Somjit arrived from a visit out in the country, radiant with joy. He was a new tribal believer, and this was the first time he had gone out to preach. It was difficult to tell him that I was going to have to leave the area. I talked with Somjit a long time and then prayed that somehow these two believers would meet before I left in the morning.
During the night I had a fever, nausea, and diarrhoea, but I was not anxious. Although I knew the enemy soldiers could burst out of the jungle at any moment, God's presence was very real as I ate a bowl of rice the next morning. The overflowing joy was gone, but God's peace kept me calm. Soon young Boon Yaw came to tell me he would gladly die for Jesus, and Somjit was there to meet him. The young Lao schoolboy had little in common with the tribal man, but now they knew they were brothers in Christ. When the bus arrived, tears flowed as I said goodbye.
I have never seen those dear friends again. The enemy soldiers arrived 24 hours later and took control of the entire area, erecting a blockade on the road so no one could enter the eastern part of Laos. Missionaries remained in the western half of Laos 14 more years, until Vietnam and Laos both fell to the communists in 1975. I have had no way of knowing if my friends are still alive.
- Silence Your Fears
Are you bound by circumstances,
Hemmed in by those who oppose?
Remember Jesus is in control.
Whatever your problems, He knows.
He knows the way that you should go,
He'll help you scale every wall.
He'll open the doors that seem tightly closed,
So yield and give Him your all.
No edicts of men, no threatenings
Can hinder God's mighty will.
So silence your fears and trust His love,
Quieten your heart and be still.
God will do a glorious work
Beyond anything that you can do.
He makes all things work together for good.
He even makes broken things new.
The amazing thing is that today I hear there are nearly 100 Christians in that part of Laos. Some are tribal Christians who have come over from Vietnam to share the good news of Jesus. Some of these are suffering severe persecution and imprisonment, and desperately need our prayers.
Prayer: Father, strengthen the persecuted church — in Laos, and in all parts of the world. Help those who are trying to share their faith. Help us remember that no matter what danger threatens Your work, You are in control, and that You have a plan. Comfort the families of those who are in prison at this time. In Jesus' name. Amen.