People Groups: People of Ayutthaya, Thailand
By AfriGO Team
The city of Ayutthaya is the former capital of Thailand and an important place for Thai Buddhists, especially on holy days and national holidays. It is known as a place of spiritual power. Just 40 miles north of the huge city of Bangkok, it is home to more than a million people with little opportunity to hear about Christ. Fewer than 700 Christians attend a handful of small churches.
For many, being Buddhist is a part of being Thai and there is tremendous pressure not to convert to Christianity. Additionally, Buddhists do not believe in the concepts of sin, or heaven and hell, and this can make it difficult to understand their need for Christ. Ten per cent of the population is Muslim, and they worship in one of 56 mosques throughout the area. No local missionaries or churches are reaching this group.
The Faithful Witness initiative of SIM is forming a multi-cultural, multi-skilled team to reach the people of Ayutthaya, including team members from Ethiopia, Peru, the US and Australia. They plan to share Christ through outreach to university students and factory workers, sports ministries, community development, microbusiness, prison ministry and language teaching.
COVID-19 travel restrictions mean that some team members, including two Ethiopians, are delayed in joining their colleagues already in Ayutthaya. More workers are still needed to join the team.
At a glance:
- The culture of Ayutthaya, and the province which shares its name, is unique; so language and culture learning will take quite a bit of team members’ time in the early months.
- Muslims and Buddhists both seek salvation through works, a contrast to Christianity’s offer of salvation through grace.
- Ayutthaya’s population tend to be transient; people work for a few years, then return to their hometowns, making it a strategic place to share the Gospel.
- For the Lord to provide visas and travel for an Ethiopian couple joining the team.
- For God to open hearts and make Himself known, creating a hunger for the Gospel.
- For good relationships between local Christians and missionaries and a shared vision to work together to bring people to Christ.
- For more workers from around the world to join the Faithful Witness team.