Map Source: People Group location: Joshua Project / IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
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|Southeast Asian Peoples
The Boloven, or Laven are an indigenous people who live in southern Laos. The ancestors of the Boloven were part of the great Khmer Empire that flourished from the ninth century to the thirteenth century. In their homeland the Laven are an agricultural community. Since the Vietnam War, about one third of the Laven people have migrated to the USA, most to Los Angeles and New York City.
Only Gospel Recordings are available in the Laven language. Most Laven people also speak the Laotian language, but those in the US usually speak English as well. Many Christian resources available in Laotian.
Moving to the USA is a huge change for the Laven people. First, they must find a place to live and enroll their children in school. Laven who have lived in the USA for a few years help the new arrivals. Next the Laven must learn English and secure some kind of employment. Adults must often take menial jobs in security, transportation, sanitation or the food industry. Once they have been the USA for a year or so they are able to find better jobs. The dream of Laven adult is that their children will graduate from university and become professionals in medicine, business, education, and science.
Laven young people learn English quickly. They become similar to other American young people in language and culture.
In Southeast Asia, Laven families frequently choose the spouse of their children. The Laven marry within their group. In the USA, young people pick their own mates, often outside of their Laven heritage and culture.
The influence of Buddhism is clearly seen in Laven society in Laos. However, their Buddhism serves more as a veneer to their traditional ethnic religions, such as ancestor worship and animism. The Laven believe that ancestral spirits remain actively involved in their lives and should be cared for and fed. They are also strongly influenced by the belief that objects of nature, such as rivers, forests, mountains, and trees are inhabited by spirits who can directly influence the courses of their lives.
Young people often regard their parents' and grandparents' animist religion as superstition. Some Laven adults in the USA attend Buddhist temples weekly and on holidays. Others become secular and non-religious.
There are few if any known followers of Jesus among the Laven people, in either Laos or the United States.
Laven who have recently arrived in the USA need help in many ways. Believers can sponsor Laven families and help them get settled in their new home. Churches can help the Laven in learning English and in finding jobs. Most of all the Laven need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray the Laven people will be able to learn the English language and be able to integrate into American society.
Pray for employment opportunities for them.
Pray that believers show the love of Christ to the Laven in practical ways.
Pray the Laven become open to the claims of Christ.
Pray that the Bible and other resources become available in the Laven language.