Buddhists of Southern Thailand

  • Pre-Entry
  • Pre-Evangelism
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Phase-Out
  • Completed

The Country

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the 14th century and was known as Siam until 1939, when it became the constitutional monarchy of Thailand. This land of free enterprise achieved steady growth primarily due to industrial and agriculture exports until flooding crippled the manufacturing sector in 2011. Yet less than 1 percent of the labor force is unemployed, even with an influx of two and a half million migrant workers from neighboring countries. The tropical climate of Thailand is divided between the warm rainy season stretching from mid-May to September and the dry, cool weather arriving in November through mid-March. In the general area of our project, the capital city of Bangkok is a major regional force in finance and business, an international hub for transport and health care, and a regional center for the arts.

h4.About the People

Southern Thailand, located on the Malay Peninsula and with an area of around 27,000 square miles, is a little larger than West Virginia. The western part has steep coasts, while river plains dominate the east side. It is a growing region with a population of more than 9 million. With a more tropical climate, it is home to many of Thailand’s pristine beaches and resorts. This narrow landmass is also home to many fishing communities.

The primary language is Southern Thai. The culture mixes strong Indian influences, Chinese traditions, and elements that are uniquely Thai. With its diverse geography, friendly people, and stunning scenery, Thailand has earned the name “Land of Smiles.”

Roughly two-thirds of Thailand’s population is composed of Thai ethnic groups, and much of Thailand’s culture comes from the ethnic Thai people. The remaining one-third of the population consists primarily of Chinese and other minorities, including Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong, and Mien. One of the most important influences on Thai culture has been Buddhism. Many of the traditions and beliefs of the people in Thailand stem directly from Buddhist principles. Hinduism has also made significant contributions to Thai culture, and one can see the close links between Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature and many Thai customs. The cultures of nearby Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and China have also significantly impacted the forming of traditions in Thailand, as have indigenous belief systems such as animism.

Religion also profoundly influences Thai culture. With around 90 percent of the country being Theraveda Buddhist, Buddhism’s belief system and values play a huge role in daily life. The remaining roughly 10 percent of the population is Muslim, with the majority of these living in Southern Thailand. The most important values to Thai people include respect, self-control, and a non-confrontational attitude. Losing face by showing anger is a source of great shame. No matter how frustrated or upset a person might feel, he or she will always strive to maintain a positive and friendly attitude, a sense of humor, and a smile.

Respect for elders and those in higher social positions is also important. Children are expected to respect their parents and teachers. The young must show deference to the elderly. Those with highly prestigious social positions, such as doctors, influential public figures, and monks, are highly revered.

h4.About the Project

Less than one percent of Thailand’s population is Christian. However, most of these live north of Bangkok. There has been less outreach to the Southern Thai people. Our project seeks to take the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ to the Buddhists in southern Thailand.

h4.People-Group Facts

Population: 9 million
Language: Thai
Religion: Buddhism, Islam

Frontier Stories

Grandma Chid

As we plead with God for more of the Holy Spirit, we pray for wisdom in sharing Christ with Grandma Chid and others like her who do not sense the need for a Savior. Please join us in these prayers.

By: Brian Wilson
May 01 2024, 8:57 am | Comments 0

Small Choices Made Over Time

Many villagers remain antagonistic towards Christianity, and a weather-induced pause mid-cremation would have been fodder for their scorn.

By: Brian Wilson
March 01 2024, 9:13 am | Comments 0

Duck Eggs and Pleasing Answers

We pray that God will bless the seeds we sow and will teach us how to lead these dear people step by step to a saving relationship with Jesus.

By: Duang Wilson
December 01 2023, 9:28 am | Comments 0

Translation Ministry

God may or may not give you the gift of tongues, but if you earnestly seek Him and cooperate with His leading, He will equip you with the skills needed for the work to which He calls you—a work for this time, before the night cometh when no one can work.

By: Brian Wilson
October 01 2023, 10:54 am | Comments 0

Translation Ministry

God may or may not give you the gift of tongues, but if you earnestly seek Him and cooperate with His leading, He will equip you with the skills needed for the work to which He calls you—a work for this time, before the night cometh when no one can work.

By: Brian Wilson
September 14 2023, 9:41 am | Comments 0

Assess and Plan

Will you join us in fasting and praying for Southern Thailand? Will you answer the call for more harvesters? May God hear our prayers and grant us a living faith that will move trees and mountains.

By: Brian Wilson
September 01 2023, 8:59 am | Comments 0


Since arriving home, Duang and I have prayed daily for God to grant victory in Bon’s life over this addiction. Please join us in this prayer.

By: Brian WIlson
July 01 2023, 11:15 am | Comments 0

Big Faith

As we reflect on Uncle Somneuk’s journey, we thank God for Khru Aw’s groundbreaking work. We pray that more people in Ban Song may join Uncle Somneuk in trusting Christ in the face of fear, daily challenges and uncertainties

By: Brian Wilson
May 01 2023, 9:34 am | Comments 0

Your Labor is Not in Vain in the Lord

Jesus called us to make disciples. We did, and we praise His name for the results. But we could have done much better.

By: Brian Wilson
April 01 2023, 2:16 pm | Comments 0

Reverse Culture Shock

Despite the emotional challenges of battling reverse culture shock, I am confident in God’s timing.

By: Duang Wilson
March 01 2023, 2:54 pm | Comments 0

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