About the People
The Royal Kingdom of Thailand (which means Land of the Free) was founded in 1238 in a declaration of independence from Khmer overlords. Bordered by Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Malaysia, the country also boasts coastlines on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Thailand exports large quantities of Jasmin rice, silk cloth, silver and silver jewelry, wicker weaving, cabbage, herbs, and naturally dyed cotton. Open-air markets carry plenty of fresh produce at good prices, and vegetarian restaurants abound. The political climate is peaceful, and temperatures range between 60 and 100 degrees year-round.
Thailand is a deeply Buddhist nation with over 92 percent of its population espousing the Buddhist faith. Missionaries have had very little success at penetrating this massive “spiritual wall.” Only about 1.6 percent of the Thai population is Christian. There are 37 Seventh-day Adventist churches in Thailand, most of which are in northern Thailand. Khon Kaen—the focus of the Central Thai Project—has no Seventh-day Adventist presence.
About the Project
The primary goal of the AFM missionaries on the Central Thai Project is to establish an indigenous church-planting movement among Thai Buddhists in Central Thailand. To reach this goal, they live closely among the people, learn the Thai language, study local culture and religion, and build deep friendships. Using what they learn, they will craft evangelistic materials for the Thai Buddhist context. Their aim is to share Christianity in a way that leads to conversions that are deeply meaningful and lasting. Local converts will be discipled to become leaders in the first church that is planted, and trained to plant new churches. In this way, the end result will be a locally led new-born Adventist Christian movement that continues expanding God’s kingdom in Thailand.
In 2014, the Northern Khmer Project merged with the Central Thai project to begin a multifaceted ministry to Thai Buddhists in Khon Kaen. The newly enlarged team runs a music school and is also focusing on creating worship music and outreach materials carefully crafted to reach Thai Buddhist hearts.
- Population: 67 million
- Language: Thai
- Religion: Buddhism