Phu Thai in United States

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Phutai simply means "Tai people." The Phutai people live in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In their homeland of Southeast Asia, the Phutai are agricultural community who live in rural villages.
Since the Vietnam War, a Phutai refugee community has been allowed to move into the Los Angeles area. Most Phutai are bilingual. They speak their own language of Phutai among themselves and the national language with outsiders.
Only Gospel Recordings are available in Phutai. A Bible translation project is currently underway.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Coming to the USA represents a huge change in lifestyle for rural Phutai. They must adapt to a modern industrial society and learn English and new job skills. First Phutai must find a place to live. Phutai who have lived in the USA for a few years help the newcomers. Adults often have to take menial jobs like working in sanitation, security, transportation, and the food industry while they learn English and get settled in their new home. The dream of Phutai parents is that their children will go to university and become professionals in medicine, education, business, and science.
In Southeast Asia, families often choose spouses for their children. The Phutai marry within their group. In the USA, young people choose their own spouses often outside of the Phutai community. Young people are losing their culture and language. Young Phutai in the USA soon become like other young Americans in their language and culture.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Phutai of Southeast Asia remain mostly animists, with some Buddhist influence. They worship 25 different spirits. Every year during the third lunar month the Phutai gather for the Pi Tian ('Spirit of Heaven') festival. The focal point of the festival is a ritual when the whole community gathers and offers sacrifices and prayers to the spirits that they believe reside in paradise above.
Some of the Phutai adults who come to live in the USA attend Buddhist temples weekly and on holidays. Many also become secular and express to having no religion. Young people often see the old Phutai religion as superstition and do not participate in Buddhist or animistic practices. A tiny fraction of the Phutai claim to be followers of Christ.

What Are Their Needs?

Few Phutai have ever accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. There are hundreds of Phutai believers in Laos and Vietnam today.
Newly arrived Phutai in the USA need help in finding places to live and enrolling their children in school. All Phutai must learn English to be successful in their new country. They also must learn new job skills to get better paying jobs. American churches and believers can help fulfill those needs.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Phutai in the USA would be open to the claims of Jesus Christ.
Pray that American churches would volunteer to assist the newly arriving Phutai.
Pray that the believers would show the love of Christ to the Phutai in practical ways.
Pray the Lord would raise up Phutai disciples who share their faith with family and friends.
Pray the Bible and other resources become available in the Phutai language.

Scripture Prayers for the Phu Thai in United States.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Phu Thai
People Name in Country Phu Thai
Pronunciation foo tye
Alternate Names Phu Tai; Poutai; Putai; Puthai; Puthay; Thái
Population this Country 57,000
Population all Countries 1,054,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14383
ROP3 Code 108016
ROP25 Code 306691
ROP25 Name Phu Tai
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Los Angeles CA   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Los Angeles CA.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Map of Phu Thai in United States
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
89.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
10.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Phu Thai (57,000 speakers)
Language Code pht   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Phu Thai (57,000 speakers)
Language Code pht   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Phu Thai

Primary Language:  Phu Thai

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Started

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Photo Source Chanwit Whanset - Pixabay 
Map Source People Group location: U.S. Census Bureau, ACS. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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