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. However, for the Thai Malay people, Islam is a centerpiece of their ethnic identity. Thailand hosts the third largest ethnic Malay population after Malaysia and Indonesia, and most Malays are concentrated in the Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun. Phuket and Ranong, home to a sizeable Muslim population, also has many people who are of Malay descent. A sizeable community also exists in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, having descended from migrants.
About the Project
The primary goal of the AFM missionaries on the Thai Malay Project is to establish an indigenous church-planting movement among these Muslim people. To reach this goal, they live closely among the people, learn the Malay language, study local culture and religion, and build deep friendships. Using what they learn, they will craft evangelistic materials for the Thai Malay Muslim 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 among this Muslim minority in Thailand.
- Population: 1.9 million
- Language: Pattani Malay
- Religion: Islam