The Kui of Thailand
The Kui live in east central Thailand, primarily in the Buriram, Sisaket, Surin, and Ubon provinces. They are also found living along the border of Cambodia. The Kui are called Suei by the Thai, which means "tax-paying."
The Kui language, Kuy, has changed significantly over the years as the people have been influenced by the surrounding cultures, particularly the Central Khmer of Thailand. Most are fluent in Khmer, although they speak Kuy in their homes. Those who have adopted other cultures do not like to be reminded of their Kui origin, and they regard Khmer as a superior language.
It is thought that the Kui were settled in the area long before the Thai arrived there, and that they were Mon-Khmer natives. In 1932, a revolution of intellectuals ushered in a democratic, constitutional monarchy. Since then, Thailand has had several constitutions and changes of government, as well as military coups and riots.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most of the Kui are farmers and cattle breeders. Over the years, they have been absorbed by the dominant cultures of the region, particularly the Khmer. For example, they no longer use their traditional farming methods of burning and clearing plots. They now use the agricultural methods of the Khmer to grow wet-rice. Very few of these farmers use modern equipment.
In addition to rice farming, the Kui are skilled ironworkers and elephant hunters. Most Kui villagers can also do basic carpentry and make certain items such as thatch, baskets, and mats.
Rural settlements are often clustered along roadways, railways, streams, or rice fields. Kui houses are patterned after the houses of the neighboring Khmer. They are usually rectangular in shape and raised on wooden stilts. The homes are only accessible by stairs. The poorer Kui have homes made with thatch roofs and walls, and bamboo floors. Those with more income have houses made with tile roofs, and wooden walls and floors. Each house has a kitchen garden where vegetables, fruits, and herbs are raised.
Traditionally, the Kui only married within their own people group. However, now they often intermarry with the neighboring Khmer, who are consider to hold a higher social status. Arranged marriages are still customary, although a young man may initiate the marriage proposal by asking his parents to send a mediator to negotiate with the girl's parents. If the proposal is accepted, the groom's family gives a gift to the bride's parents to help with wedding expenses. The newlyweds may live with the bride's family after marriage, but this is not always the case.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Seventy-eight percent of the Kui practice ethnic religions such as animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits). They believe in a spiritual realm that contains both good and evil spirits. Some spirits are associated with natural objects such as trees and fields. The spirits of deceased parents and grandparents are looked to for help and guidance. The Kui believe that some spirits cause illness, while others give magical powers to certain individuals. The people must deal with sorcerers who can cause illness or death. They also rely on mediums to communicate with the dead.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, many of the Kui have become Buddhists as a result of influence from the Central Thai and Khmer. Buddhism teaches that right thinking, ritual sacrifices, and self-denial will enable their souls to reach nirvana (a state of eternal bliss) after death. The Kui try to earn merits by supporting the construction of new Buddhist temples, giving food to Buddhist monks, and studying in a Buddhist monastery. Many Kui communities now have temples in their villages.
What Are Their Needs?
Of the more than 200,000 Kui in Thailand, less than 2% of them know Jesus as their Savior. Although the New Testament is already available in the Kuy language, most of the Kui are illiterate.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Thailand and share Christ with the Kui.
- Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently working among the Kui.
- Ask the Lord to begin revealing Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will encourage and protect the Kui who have accepted Jesus.
- Ask God to use these new converts to reach out and share the love of Christ with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Kui bound.
- Ask God to call forth prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Kui by the year 2000.
See also the following Group:
The Kui of Laos
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kui
- Country: Thailand
- Their language: Kuy (Suai)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1.3%
- Church members: 2,894
- Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 5
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 65,300 (32%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 142,900 (68%)
- Country: Thailand
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 40
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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