Burmese, Bama in Thailand

Population

69,600

Christian

Evangelical

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Introduction / History

The Burmese are originally from the hills of Tibet in western China. Today, they live in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and in the Tanen Mountains and steep river valleys of northwestern Thailand. They speak Bama, a Tibeto-Burmese language. Many of those in Thailand also speak Thai.

The Burmese are the political, economic, and religious leaders of Myanmar. It has had a long history of coups, wars, and rebellions. Ethnic divisions and political unrest have been common since the first Burmese kingdom in the eleventh century.

Many Burmese fled to Thailand in hopes of finding a more peaceful climate. Unfortunately, Thailand has had its own problems with governmental changes, military coups, and riots. The Burmese refugees placed an added strain on Thailand's economy. Sadly, the Burmese have lived in a constant state of instability, defense, bitterness, and fear.


What are Their Lives Like?

The thickly forested mountains of Thailand provide valuable lumber for the Burmese, while the fertile valleys support intense rice cultivation. Rice cultivation is their main occupation and basic means of economic support; it is grown for both personal consumption and trade.

Although the Burmese ideally grow rice in irrigated fields, they also resort to slash and burn cultivation. With this process, the fields are cut and burned before any new crops are planted. To help in the fields, cattle and buffalo are raised to draw heavy wooden plows. It is a daily task for a whole Burmese family to go out into the fields to work. Mothers work with their babies, while the older children accompany their grandparents.

Various types of houses can be found in the Burmese villages. The wealthier people often live in sturdy, mahogany homes that are raised off the ground and have plank floors and tile roofs. Those with lower incomes may live in thatched roof, bamboo houses that have dirt floors. All activities take place on the dirt floors, including eating and sleeping. Therefore, it is extremely impolite to enter a Burmese house wearing shoes.

The single most important social institution in the village is the temple. It symbolizes unity among the villagers, and provides a wide variety of activities for the people.

The Burmese do not recognize clans or lineages. Marriages are monogamous, and rarely arranged by the parents. Young couples generally live with the brides' parents for the first few years after they are married. They will set up their own homes after two or three years.


What are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese are predominantly Hinayana Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to Nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Burmese have mixed these Buddhist beliefs with their own animistic beliefs (belief that non-living objects have spirits).

Their animistic beliefs center around inherently evil spirits called nats. The Burmese spend their lives trying to appease the nats so that they will be protected from any other evil spirits that may seek to harm them. All Burmese homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha.

According to their Buddhist faith, the Burmese believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, death is simply a "passing" from one life to another. Buddhists believe that those with less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals, or inhabitants of hell.


What are Their Needs?

The Burmese left their homeland, Myanmar, in search of peace. Unfortunately, the peace they desired has not been found in Thailand. They are in need of loving Christians who will introduce them to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Very few of the Burmese community have come to Christ. Fervent prayer and effective evangelism are the keys to seeing them reached with the Gospel.


Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Thailand and share the love of Christ with the Burmese.
* Ask God to use the few Burmese believers to share the Gospel with their own people.
* Ask God to raise prayer teams who will faithfully intercede for these precious people.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Burmese.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Burmese towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Burmese of Thailand.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-05-26
People Name General Burmese
People Name in Country Burmese, Bama
Population in Thailand 69,600
World Population 31,299,000
Countries 18
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bama, Bamar, Bamas, Burman, Man, Myan, Myan, Myen, Myanmas, Myen, Yaw
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Burmese
People Name General Burmese
Ethnic Code MSY50b
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Burmese (70,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Burmese 70,000
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1815-1985)
New Testament Yes   (1832-1987)
Complete Bible Yes   (1835-2006)
Audio Bible Online
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Burmese
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Got Questions Ministry
Printed Matter Fathers Love Letter
Scripture Bible-in-Your-Language
Scripture Bibles, Bible League
Scripture World Missionary Press Booklets
Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-05-26

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
88.60 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.40 %
Ethnic Religions
3.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
7.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
1.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
25.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
10.0 %
Protestant
50.0 %
Roman Catholic
15.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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