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

About the People

At one time, the Tai-Kadai* people had their own Kingdom. During the 19th century they were captured by a neighboring country and about half their population was relocated. In the 20th century, their land became some of the most heavily bombed real estate on the planet.

Today the Tai-Kadai number about 111,000 in Southeast Asia.

The Tai-Kadai are Buddhist, but they are also heavily influenced by animism. They believe in “guardian spirits” and “locality spirits,” which are identified with different levels of society. They believe that one must please these spirits in order to avoid curses and receive blessings.

The Tai-Kadai work as farmers in higher elevations using terraces. Some also use slash and burn techniques. The rice they grow is of the wet rice variety. Along roads they are also blacksmiths, merchants, businessmen, skilled workers and civil servants. Wealthier Tai-Kadai live in sturdy, teak or mahogany paneled houses that are raised off the ground and have a plank floor and tile roof. Less wealthy live in low-pitched, bamboo-framed houses with thatched roofs and earthen floors. The basic social unit is the family. While they are patriarchal there is almost no division of labor by sex. They are hardworking and habitually save things for future use.

The Tai-Kadai people are also renowned for the silk weaving. They are responsible for inspiring their captors (the Queen of Thailand) with a renewed interest in traditional silk weaving.

Social life includes “merit-making” ceremonies, ordinations of monks, marriages, and housewarmings. The ideal family size is to have five children: a daughter first (to help mother), then three boys to work and be monks, then another girl. It is a great honor for the eldest to become a monk, which is believed to better the family positions.

The Tai-Kadai currently do not have any portion of the Bible translated into their language.

Asian food is very diverse. However, curries are very important to Southeast Asian cuisines. Rice is a staple starch to people in this area, but they also eat a variety of leavened and unleavened breads and egg noodles. Garlic, ginger and chili peppers are common spices. Seafood and other meats are a big part of their diet as well.

About the Project

Adventist Frontier Missions has several projects in Southeast Asia. This part of the world is as diverse in people as it is in landscape. This region has seen many wars, not only in this century, but in centuries past.

AFM is actively working to reach the unreached people groups in this area. One of the primary strongholds of Buddhism today, Southeast Asia is truly a mission frontier.

Due to the sensitive nature of this project and the fact that the country in which we are operating is unfriendly toward evangelism, most of the information we share is general. If you are interested in serving as a missionary with the Tai-Kadai, please contact our recruiter who will give you more specific information.



People-Group Facts

  • Population: 111,000
  • Language: 8 distinct languages
  • Trade language: Undisclosed
  • Religion: Buddhism

Frontier Stories

The Outstretched Hand

Am I ready? Can I do this? I open my Bible and read, “If I say, ‘My foot slips,’ Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.” Accepting His outstretched hand, I stand up and walk forward with confidence.

By: Sara Ferguson
October 01 2018, 5:47 am | Comments 0

Introducing Sara Ferguson

Clearly God was calling me to move from the support team to the frontlines.

By: Sara Ferguson
January 01 2018, 7:58 am | Comments 0

Nature, God’s Second Book

The love of God and His righteousness are like freshly fallen snow—beautiful, bountiful and pure, covering us and filling us with a peace beyond all understanding.

By: Anthony & Ruth Wilkins
May 01 2017, 8:17 am | Comments 0

The Farmer

The pleasant morning breeze drew Joy and me farther down our daily walking trail than normal.

By: Joelle Thea
June 01 2014, 11:27 am | Comments 0


“Who made this world?” “Why did Adam and Eve leave the garden of Eden?”

By: Joelle Thea
April 01 2014, 9:48 am | Comments 0

New Opportunities

As dry season gave way to rainy season, my daily walk along the rice fields became more and more difficult.

March 01 2014, 10:06 am | Comments 0

Our Faithful Neighbor

“Waaaaah, Waaah!” Baby Joy’s tummy was gassy.

February 01 2014, 2:43 pm | Comments 0

Travailing in Pain Together

It was only 10 p.m., but Grandma Dorothy awoke and could not get back to sleep.

January 01 2014, 11:42 am | Comments 1


“I think you should come and see this,” my sister Joelle called.

By: Sunbeam (Joelle Thea's Sister)
December 01 2013, 12:13 pm | Comments 0

The Shepherd Boy

Please pray for our little Sabbath School class.

November 01 2013, 1:15 pm | Comments 0

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