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

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


Please pray for us as we encourage these former prisoners in their walk with Christ.

By: Brian Wilson
December 01 2022, 3:15 pm | Comments 0

Weed Water

My prayer today is: “Lord God, make us bright for you! Break through these distractions of Satan. Bring salvation to the people here in Surat Thani. Send more workers. Use us to replace weed water with the Water of Life.”

By: Brian Wilson
October 01 2022, 4:46 pm | Comments 0

No Bible, No Breakfast

We may not always see the results, but by faith, we claim the promise. Please pray that we may surrender to Christ daily and that He will fulfill His purpose through us here in Thailand.

By: Brian Wilson
August 01 2022, 9:47 am | Comments 0

Our Waiting is Over

May the passing of time find your longing for Christ ever-growing and your love more fervent until we see Him face-to-face.

By: Brian Wilson
July 01 2022, 12:08 pm | Comments 0

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

I invite all whom God is calling to future or foreign missions to respond in faith to God’s provision. However, do not wait to serve, but as the song says, “Brighten the corner where you are.”

By: Brian Wilson
June 01 2022, 8:46 am | Comments 0

Brother Sam

Unfortunately, Brother Sam is on a trajectory to achieve his goal of eternal death. Will you pray for him and the other monks in Surat Thani? Pray that he has an experience similar to Martin Luther—that he becomes disillusioned with “creature merit” and, longing for something better, discovers Jesus Christ, his Savior. Pray that God calls him as an apostle Paul to His people.

By: Brian Wilson
May 01 2022, 10:04 am | Comments 0

Adapt But Not Conform

We will no longer need to shovel snow when we get to Thailand. Instead, we will be sweeping dust and sand. We will leave behind the shivering cold and embrace the sweltering heat. But along with my short pants, something else will remain—Christ’s call for us to be in and not of the world.

By: Brian Wilson
April 01 2022, 3:20 pm | Comments 0

Blinking Snow Clods

Our vision does not pierce the future. To be successful, we need divine illumination and heavenly discernment. As the birding scope allowed us to see details invisible to the naked eye and barely detectable with binoculars, the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit will enable us to identify people who are hungering to know God.

By: Brian Wilson
March 01 2022, 9:12 am | Comments 0

What Does Love Look Like?

Love is not a romantic feeling but a choice. Like faith, it is usually an action verb. I continue to pray that prayer and invite you to join me. Ask God to give you practical examples of what real love looks like. The world is dying to see it.

By: Brian Wilson
February 01 2022, 9:29 am | Comments 0

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