The Tai Yuan are often known as the Northern Thai since most of their 6 million members are found in North Thailand. They are one of the most reachable non-Christian peoples of the Mekong Region as they live in a modern country with total religious freedom. A century ago there was a movement among them that resulted in several thousand converts. Their descendants today number several tens of thousands, but still make up well under 1% of their total population.
Why are the Tai Yuan still unreached and why are so few being reached?
The Tai Yuan are proud of their culture and that culture has been Buddhist throughout their history.
The Christians who believed a century or more ago did not maintain an evangelistic ardor to reach their non-Christians neighbors. Therefore over the decades the Tai Yuan Christians have effectively become a new minority group which shares a common language but not a common culture with their Buddhist neighbors.
Missionaries coming to North Thailand have generally given their attention to the Christianized tribes or to the established Tai Yuan churches and have not generally modeled a passion for sharing the Gospel with Tai Yuan Buddhists.
The little work that has been done among them has often been done in Central Thai but the Tai Yuan love to speak and hear their own language.
Pray for new workers to learn the local language. Pray for the Tai Yuan team to find ways to gain access not only into Tai Yuan communities but into the hearts of the Tai Yuan people. Pray for Christians from tribal backgrounds who seek to reach Tai to be encouraged to keep doing their good works even when results might be very slow in coming.