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 due largely to industrial and agriculture exports, until flooding crippled the manufacturing sector in 2011. Yet less than 1% 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 the east side is dominated by river plains. 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 land mass is also home to many fishing communities.

The main 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 made up of Thai ethnic groups, and much of Thailand’s culture comes from the ethnic Thai people. The remaining third of the population is made up 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 important contributions to Thai culture, and the close links between Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature, and in many Thai customs. The cultures of nearby Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China have also played an important role in forming the traditions of Thailand, as have indigenous belief systems such as Animism.

Thai culture is deeply influenced by religion. With around 90% of the country being Theraveda Buddhist, the belief system and values of Buddhism play a huge role in daily life. Another roughly 10% 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 for 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 positions in society, such as doctors, important 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

Let Us Bow to the King

The main point of his scolding was that the culture did not allow for class distinction and that I should have mitigated the situation by not allowing the grandma to greet me as was customary to greet royalty when Tai-Kadai was a monarchy.

By: Brian Wilson
September 01 2021, 10:01 am | Comments 0

Mr. Affirmative and the Brain Cure

Please join us in praying for an open door for God’s word to do mighty things among the people of Surat Thani.

By: Brian Wilson
August 01 2021, 11:25 am | Comments 0

Cinder Block Shoes

I am sure that I will have more challenges along the way, but God is always faithful, and He will provide. Thank you for your prayers.

By: Brian Wilson
July 01 2021, 8:02 am | Comments 0

Follow His Gaze

It is by looking into the face of God that His children are reassured as to the path that they should take.

By: Brian Wilson
June 01 2021, 9:01 am | Comments 0

The Ministry of the Open Door

As we share our home with others, we pray that they may find encouragement and blessing , but most importantly, that they might know Jesus Christ and find in Him their Savior.

By: Brian Wilson
May 01 2021, 9:26 am | Comments 0

The Power of Prayer

Our experience with Joe has encouraged us to continue praying for others who as yet give no outward evidence of conversion. We are claiming the promise, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

By: Brian Wilson
April 01 2021, 11:29 am | Comments 0

Pray for Open Doors

We serve the God who said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” and who said in the Psalms, “Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession” (Gen. 18:14; Ps. 2:8.). The answer to closed doors is prayer!

By: Brian Wilson
March 01 2021, 2:14 pm | Comments 0

Thank You, Lord

And thus a chapter is closing. After navigating necessary logistics, we will soon turn our eyes from this deathbed and set our sights back on Thailand while with the eye of faith continually looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

By: Brian Wilson
February 01 2021, 2:40 pm | Comments 0

Why Do I Believe?

Before we move to Thailand, I hope I have an opportunity to share with my co-workers what God and Jesus mean to me.

By: Brian Wilson
January 01 2021, 10:17 am | Comments 0

Growth in Grace

We look forward to Southern Thailand and the joys that will come as we lead people there to Christ and guide their growth in grace.

By: Brian Wilson
December 01 2020, 9:34 am | Comments 0

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