Spirit houses stand in front of every farmhouse in central Thailand, along rough passages of road in the south, and even on the sidewalk outside the McDonald's in Bangkok. Thai routinely leave offerings of food and other provisions to keep these spirits as comfortable as possible, hoping the spirits will return their kindness. At the same time, many of today's Thai are drawn to the gods of materialism and independence, trends that are changing the face of east Asia. Bangkok, sometimes called the "sin capital" of Asia, is home to a sex industry employing two million people, including many children. AIDS and the orphans it will leave is one of the country's greatest concerns.
Missionaries have been working in Thailand for many years, but only one percent of the Thai have accepted Jesus. Many Thai find it hard to understand the concept of grace and forgiveness. Holy Spirit, give them understanding.
|Shan||Homeland: Myanmar, China, Thailand|
Shan simply means "mountain" and is used to describe several Asian mountain peoples. The Burmese Shan are part of the Tai family and consider themselves the older, wiser brothers of the Thai and Lao people. Traditionally, the Shan live in bamboo homes high in the mountains, but in recent years many Shan have traveled to Thailand to find work. The Shan faithfully follow magic rituals, horoscopes, and dreams. They carefully tend their spirit houses, believing they only worship good spirits, mixing Buddhist tradition with magic. Most Shan boys join the Buddhist priesthood for a year or two when they are about ten years old. Some Shan have come to Christ through radio broadcasts, literature, the hard work of missionaries, and a new translation of the New Testament. Pockets of believers around the world have been praying specifically for large numbers of Shan to come to Christ. Will you join them?
Holy Spirit, work especially among young families, who have been noticeably absent from the small Shan churches.
|Zhuang||Homeland: South western China|
|Religion: Buddhism, Animism|
The Zhuang live along the terraced, narrow mountains of Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guiahou, and Hunan Provinces in China. A very musical people, the Zhuang have made impromptu singing an art form and use it for courtship, settling disputes, and in celebrations and community festivals. Many are wet-rice farmers, but they also grow bananas, pineapple, timber, and cultured pearls. They live Thai-style, in two-story homes: the family lives upstairs and the downstairs is used to store equipment and animals. The 16 million Zhuang are the largest minority group in China. There are a few Christians among them, about one Christian for every thousand Zhuang.
Father, use radio, the Jesus film, and the New Testament in translation, emboldening Zhuang believers to win many to you.
|Black Tai||Homeland: Vietnam, China, Laos|
The Black Tai, or Tai Dam, live on the banks of the Black river in Vietnam. One of the few Tai groups not influenced by Buddhism, the Black Tai hold tightly to centuries-old, never-ending rituals to keep the spirit world happy. In the last several years God has been moving among the Black Tai in Vietnam. A few years ago one Black Tai in prison received Christ. Once released, he began sharing Christ with his neighbors. Before long, more than 750 Black Tai had come to Christ. Since then, the church has been growing quickly. Entire villages have converted. Thousands have come to Christ and Bibles in the Black Tai language are being distributed.
Jesus, teach these young believers so they can stay strong in a country where persecution of your children is on the rise.
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