Burmese in Laos

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People Name: Burmese
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,300
World Population: 32,183,600
Primary Language: Burmese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Burmese
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Burmese are believed to have originated in China, and made their way into today's Myanmar in the ninth century AD. They quickly established themselves as the major power in the fertile Irrawaddy River Valley.

The name of Burma was changed to Myanmar in 1988 by the military government. They claim Burma was mistakenly named by the British. Ma means 'the land of' in Burmese, therefore Burma meant 'the land of the Burs'. The majority population of the nation, however, call themselves Myen, therefore the nation was renamed Myanmar ('the land of the Myan/Myen'). For the sake of clarity, we will call them the Burmese.

Most Burmese live in Myanmar. Others are found in Malaysia, Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Laos, and other nations around the world. They have come across the border from Myanmar in recent decades as traders and merchants. A number have settled down in the Sing and Long districts of Laos' Luang Namtha Province. Others live in the cities of Vientiane, Xaignabouri, and in the Houayxay District of Bokeo Province.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In Myanmar, the Burmese are the majority people. In Laos, they are a small minority. Most likely they either make their living through farming or through trade.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese are one of the strongest Theravada Buddhist peoples in the world. They have the conviction that they preserve the true faith. In Theravada Buddhist societies monks embody Buddhist principles, the dhamma. Their withdrawal from the mundane world into the vat where they dress differently, follow a different daily regime from the rest of society, are subject to elaborate codes of conduct, including codes of avoidance, especially of women who tempt them back into the mundane world. All of these rules demarcate the sacred space within which they move.

What Are Their Needs?

The Burmese are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. In Myanmar they are surrounded by many Christian tribes, yet most Burmese have refused to consider the truths of the gospel, especially from tribal people who they consider much inferior to themselves. They believe "To be Burmese is to be Buddhist."

Prayer Points

Pray for faithful intercessors and missionaries to go to the Burmese in Laos.

Pray God would have mercy on the Burmese people.

Pray He would humble their hearts to consider the gospel.

Ask God to save the small number of Burmese in Laos.

Pray for heavenly strategies to win the Buddhist Burmese people of Myanmar and Laos.

Text Source:   Joshua Project