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 similar to other young Americans in their language and culture.
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.
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.
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|
|Alternate Names||Phu Tai; Poutai; Putai; Puthai; Puthay; Thái|
|Population this Country||57,000|
|Population all Countries||1,050,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|ROP25 Name||Phu Tai|
|Region||America, North and Caribbean|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||Not ranked|
|Location in Country||Los Angeles CA Source: Ethnologue 2010|