Lao in Australia

Lao
Photo Source:  Cambodia Research Network 
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People Name: Lao
Country: Australia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 12,000
World Population: 3,906,500
Primary Language: Lao
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 3.50 %
Evangelicals: 1.90 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Lao
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Very few Laotians lived in Australia before 1976. With the new communist government in Laos and the poor economy, many left for other countries. In the early 1980s, many Laotians had come to the state of Victoria and many more came in the 1990s. Most were from Lao (which is in the lowlands of Laos) as well as the Hmong. The largest number of Laotians in Australia live in the state of New South Wales. There are Buddhist temples in a few places as well as in Melbourne, such as in Sydney. The Laotians in Australia as well as speaking in Lao can speak in English.

What Are Their Lives Like?

There are not many professional workers among them. Most of the Laotian professionals work in business and finance. Other Laotians work in industry and retail. Lao people do not show emotions. They do not like to be touched on the head or have a foot pointed at them. One must first speak to the family. Laotians consider it impolite for visitors to leave too soon. They look to family members first in health matters and they use herbal medicines. The Laotians in Australia have organizations that support them. They are mainly and there are several Buddhist temples in Melbourne.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Laotians practice Buddhism, the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, declares that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of right intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation. Mahayana Buddhism, the other main branch of Buddhism, asserts that by following the six perfections that a Buddhist can move along the path to Enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism falls within the Mahayana school. To most Buddhists, however, these things have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion. Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.

What Are Their Needs?

The Laotians need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers in John 10:10.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love. Pray that the Laotian will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings. Pray for workers who are driven by the love and boldness of the Holy Spirit to go to them. Pray for a movement to Christ among them to begin this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project