Lao Evangelical Church Expresses Desire To Establish Laotian Language School Of Theology

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On May 24, 2013 Mr. Craiq Chambron, on behalf of the Lao Evangelical Church (LEC), met with Dr. Son Nguyen, COO and Dr. Tu Truong, CAO of UUC to discuss the possibil-ity of establishing the Laotian Language School of Theology.

The Lao Evangelical Church is the largest registered Christian church in Laos. It is believed that the church has around 120,000 members (2% of the population) among approximately 150,000 total Chris-tian population, and 200 ordained Pastors.

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Its thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains form most of the eastern bor-der with Vietnam and the northwestern border with Thailand. Laos' population is approximately 7 million and the median age is 19.3 years old.

The Lao Evangelical Church grew out of the work of Swedish Protestant (1890), Swiss Brethren (1902) and Christian and Missionary Alliance missionaries (1928). In 1956, the missionaries who worked in three different parts of the country came together to establish the LEC.

Between 1975 and 1990, the country closed its door to the outside world and religious freedom was restricted. Since the country opened up in 1990, the membership of the LEC has been growing. The LEC recently started a Bible school training program at its headquarters in the state capital Vientiane. Until now, most of the pastors were trained in neighboring countries. Although public evangelical activities are not encouraged by the socialist government, the churches in the capital city, towns and rural areas are experiencing considerable growth, especially with increasing youth membership. For a long time the church leaders have recognized an urgent need of theological education for pas-tors, but the political situation has prevented them from providing such educa-tion. A follow-up meeting is tentatively set for October, 2013 in Laos.

Craiq Chambron has served as the preservationist for the preservation of the original Vietnamese tribal language manuscripts done by Wycliff Bible Translators in Bangkok. He also served in the Indo-China History Project, Bang-kok, Thailand. This project involved the acquisition and preservation of memorabilia and documents pertaining to Christian & Missionary Alliance missionary activity in Southeast Asia. Through this project, he became involved with LEC.