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Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
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|Southeast Asian Peoples
Tonga is the language of the Mani people of Thailand and Malaysia. They look more like Africans than Asians. They have lived in what is Thailand and Malaysia for thousands of years. They prefer the name "Mani" which simply means, "jungle dwellers."
The Mani people live on the border between Thailand and Malaysia. Some live on either side of the border.
Because they live off the land through simple hunting and foraging for wild fruits, roots, and vegetables, they have a very small population. Clothes that are not brought to them from the outside are made of banana leaves and other natural materials. They live in huts made of bamboo poles with banana leaves for roofing.
Today things are changing rapidly for the Mani people. Other people groups are encroaching on their land and hunting their wild animals with guns. The Mani people cannot compete with outsiders for limited resources.
The primary religion practiced by the Mani people is ethnic religion. Ethnic religion is deeply rooted in a people's ethnic identity and conversion essentially equates to cultural assimilation.
They cremate their dead, and ask the spirit of the deceased to not follow them home. They do not bury their dead because someone might walk over the place where the corpse is buried, which would be a sin.
It is only a matter of time before this people group is forced to live in the 21st century, and if they are not prepared for it, they will be taken advantage of or even destroyed as a people. Believers can teach them valuable marketable skills so they don't wind up as beggars or prostitutes.
Pray for the Lord to send His people to help the Manis adjust to upcoming changes.
Pray for justice and mercy to prevail as the Mani people come in contact with modern society.
Pray for them to learn the ways of Jesus, and use them to help them to flourish in the years to come.
Pray for a Mani church that will be defined by discipleship and obedience to the teachings of Jesus.