The Kui of Laos
The Kui live primarily in the Saravane and Sedone districts of southern
Laos. There are also large Kui communities on both sides of the Mekong River in Laos,
Thailand, and along the border of
Cambodia. Kuy, their native language, is one of the most important Mon-Khmer languages because of its vast number of speakers, its geographical spread, and its historical role.
It is thought that the Kui were settled in this region long before the Thai, and that they were Mon-Khmer natives. Thus, they are often referred to as the "Old Khmer." During the fifteenth century, the Khmer empire declined after being conquered by the Vietnamese and the Thai. Consequently, the Khmer civilization was limited to the area that is now known as Cambodia. In 1970, Cambodia became "the killing fields" of the Vietnam War. Thousands of Khmer and Kui fled to Laos during that time. Unfortunately, Laos has also had many invasions as well as a series of land wars.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Over the years, the Kui began adopting the practices of the surrounding peoples, especially the Khmer. This brought on many significant changes within their culture. Those who are assimilated do not like to be reminded of their Kui origin, regarding Khmer as a superior position.
Today, most of the Kui are farmers and cattle breeders. They no longer use their traditional farming methods of burning and clearing plots. Instead, they use the agricultural methods of the Khmer to grow wet-rice. Very few of these farmers use modern equipment.
The Kui are also skilled ironworkers, carpenters, and makers of certain items such as thatch, baskets, and mats. Although the merchants who work at the local markets are Chinese, the Khmer have now begun trading amongst themselves and with the Kui.
To the Kui, the village is considered the most significant political unit of society. The villages of a single valley are governed by a prince, and the commoners are required to pay him taxes. Each village is led by a headman, and each family is led by the eldest male. Although the Kui are considered citizens of Laos, very few of them have any representation in the government.
Rural settlements are often clustered along roadways, railways, streams, or rice fields. Kui houses are usually rectangular in shape and raised on wooden stilts. 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 fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs are raised.
Traditionally, the Kui only married within their own people group. However, now they often intermarry with the neighboring Khmer. 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. Newlyweds sometimes live with the bride's family after marriage.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Virtually all of the Kui practice ethnic religions such as animism. 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, while others represent deceased parents and grandparents. It is believed that some spirits cause illness, while others bring healing and prosperity. The people must deal with sorcerers who can cause illness or death. They also rely on mediums to communicate with the dead.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kui have been greatly affected by the fighting and bloodshed of the past. They are in need of inner healing and new spiritual hope. At the present time, there is only one missions agency working among this war-torn, needy people. More Christian laborers and evangelistic tools are needed to reach with them with the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Laos and share Christ with the Kui.
- Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is 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 Thailand
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kui
- Country: Laos
- Their language: Kuy (Suai)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1.5%
- Church members: 879
- 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: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 16,700 (29%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 41,900 (71%)
- Country: Laos
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 8
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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