Lectionary Selection: 1 Kings 19: 1-4, (5-7), 8-15a
Prayers for Laos:
Our loving & gracious God,
We are reminded of your daily presence in our lives through the relationships we build with the people around us, particularly the Lao. We thank you not only for providing us with your abundant love, stillness, solidarity, and grace, but also your peace, comfort in times of challenges and distress, as well as those moments of joy and laughter we share with one another. We hold deep gratitude for those individuals you have lead us to know. We are gracious for your sanctuary in hard times as well as your overflowing gifts in our lives, knowing we will never be alone and all our needs will always be met through you. In the same way, you provided food and water for Elijah on his journey through the wilderness to Mount Horeb. You were with Elijah as he grew afraid after others reported he had killed the prophets, just as you provide comfort and peace when we are scared.
Teach us to trust in you and remain calm rather than worrying or being afraid about the little concerns of life or become frustrated when we may question or doubt our lives and world. Remind us to live in love, compassion, and harmony with those whose beliefs, values, and way of life may be different from our own. Allow us to grow in our faith and share our own unique gifts with others.
Today we ask for special prayers for the people of Laos. We pray for the pastors and church leaders/ servants of the Lao Evangelical Church (in Vientiane as well as other districts and provinces), for the continued blessings bestowed on all the members and families of the Lao Evangelical Church, for the wisdom of the Lao government, for the health and safety of rural families as well as those people living in cities, and for the educational opportunities for all the children, youth, and young adults throughout Laos.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Laos:
“Bo pen nyang” (No worries) is a common phrase used among the Lao people. Laos is a country of stillness, tranquility, and harmony. Lao people do not often grow angry or agitated with others. People do not argue when making difficult decisions. People do not yell if someone may have done something wrong or if someone sees a situation through a different perspective. Lao people do not dwell on potential problems. People are grateful and do with what they have. Christians know God will not leave them, but will instead be with them and provide for their needs.
In Laos it is currently the rainy season. Daily rainfall causes flooding and a loss of electricity more often. The Lao response to no power and lots of rain... “bo pen nyang” (no worries). Church goes on by candlelight and meals continue to be cooked over the fire and shared after worship together.
Lao teachers work very hard and are very passionate individuals who love teaching energetic Lao children and youth. Nevertheless, their salaries are often very minimal and not always paid on time. For Lao teachers, this is not a problem. They continue to love teaching, and are gracious for what they receive.
Likewise, health problems are responded to with calmness among the Lao people. A few months ago a Christian friend and teacher, Khamla, started experiencing sharp lower stomach pain while at school one day. She continued on teaching for a number of days, but as the pain increased and she could not stand upright, she eventually went to the hospital. The doctors told her she had ovarian cancer and would need surgery in order to stay alive and well. She came back to school reporting to me the news in a cheerful way. As I grew upset over the report from my good friend, she quickly turned the conversation around. She told me not to worry as God would take care and provide for her. Khamla was right! She did end up having surgery to remove her ovaries and within a few weeks was back at school teaching. Lao people take potential concerns and fears with great stride, beauty, and peace.
Thank you for the support and prayers that make strong connections and relationships with the Lao people and the Lao Evangelical Church possible.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Nicole Betteridge)
Mission Partners in Laos:
More information on Laos:
Global Ministries Missionary in Laos:
Nicole Betteridge, member of Decorah United Church of Christ, Decorah, Iowa, serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Lao Evangelical Church in Laos. She teaches English with the Lao Evangelical Church and volunteers with the Children's Development Centers.