Thailand (“land of the free”) with its 70 million people is a holiday paradise for many. The chief religion is Theravada Buddhism (94%). Muslims, mainly in the South, make up 4%. Buddhism is mixed with animism and Chinese religions. 95% of the people are ethic Thais whereas the others are of Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian origin. The provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have many tribal people either born in Thailand or neighbouring countries. Thailand is a colourful and fascinating country with a huge social divide of great poverty and riches side by side.
Christianity is very weak; only 0.8% are Christians because to be Thai is seen to be Buddhist and it’s in their DNA. However the church is growing and there are many first generation Christians. However, the church’s influence has been much greater than numbers indicate. The lower class, the suffering, the poor, the hurt make up the bulk of Thai Christianity – like in the early church.
AFA Action: In 2010 we visited Chiang Rai, as a group, with empty hands. We saw, we marvelled, we acted. For God filled our empty hands with love, power and money through the sacrifices of our supporters. We settled groups of refugees and migrant workers to give them a home, a future.
Three large acreages in different areas were purchased and villages have come into being: Tahaw and Santisuk. The most valuable land is near the Chiang Rai Airport for Burmese workers but is also to become a Gospel Training and Outreach Centre of the ELCT (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Thailand) we partner with.
We maintain ministries through evangelists and the Ethnic Children’s Home (ECH). Our main focus: the Lahu and Akha tribes. Please pray about present challenges to the work in this area.
In Bangkok we award scholarships to four theological students at Luther Seminary Thailand.