The Southern Thai live in fourteen different regions in southern Thailand. They originated from China but were pressured to move southward and set up a new homeland. They live along the beaches, swamplands, and the valleys where wet-rice farming and cattle breeding are the primary means of agriculture.
Southern Thai are respectful to the elderly and following the elderly, occupation, wealth, and other factors determine respect in their culture. They are primarily Theravada Buddhists. Buddhism came to Thailand in 239 B.C. which teaches that by merit or good works they can reach nirvana. Because of their proximity to Malaysia, there is a large Muslim influence as well.
Engagement // What’s Happening Now
Pastor Bae is a former Buddhist monk who at an early age felt hopeless, and in his society, if you had no purpose or hope, then the solution was suicide. He sought out happiness and purpose for his life by going to a monastery in sixth grade. He became a monk but still did not know his purpose. Because of this, he decided he would commit suicide. He attempted, but his family stopped him in time.
He felt that his life had no value, so he left to Bangkok looking for work. He sat at a college campus and contemplated committing suicide again. A Christian came to him and shared the good news of Jesus. He was nineteen, and at that moment he gave his life to Christ. He is now the pastor of Bangkok City Church, pray for him and that his testimony would reach other Buddhists.
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
According to the article, “Reaching Buddhists,” Eighty percent of the world’s Buddhists live in PenAsia. Christianity and Buddhism are immensely different religions regarding good and evil, works and faith, reincarnation, and deities. Those seeking to engage Buddhists much have a good understanding of the Buddhist mindset and be willing to create strong friendships to effectively share the gospel.
To join in reaching the Southern Thai of Thailand visit AP Spend Yourself.
Partnership // Move Beyond
Please spend a few minutes in prayer for:
- Pray for Buddhist in Thailand who do not see any value for their life, that they would know the love of God.
- Pray more churches are planted across Thailand.
- Pray for wisdom and understanding as workers’ minister in the Buddhist context.