Yoy in Thailand

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2021
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Yoy
Country: Thailand
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 8,000
World Population: 20,000
Primary Language: Yoy
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.90 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tai
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

About 1,000 Yoy, or Tai Yo people live in Khammouan Province in central Laos. They live at the juncture of three districts: Nakay, Grommarol and Bouarapha.

According to the Ethnologue, there are 5,000 speakers of the Yoy language living in Thailand. Yoy is a member of the Northern Tai language family. All Yoy are adequately bilingual in the national language, Lao. Indeed, to most outsiders there is no visible or cultural differences between the Lao and Yoy. The distinctiveness of the Yoy is confined to their language.

The Yoy are professing Buddhists, although a close inspection of their religious practices reveals a regular dependence on spirit-appeasement and animism.

In many respects, Buddhism has lost some of its authority over the inhabitants of Laos in recent decades. Before the advent of Communism in 1975 it was already showing signs of decay. Nhouy Abhay, a leading figure in the Royal Lao Government, said in 1959, "How much ignorance among the monks! The Pali tongue which is less and less understood has become a screen behind which they hide their ignorance.. This lack of reasoning goes with a daily slackening in the performance of religious rites. Monks relax their discipline, and it can be noticed in temples as well as in the streets, in cemeteries and in homes. In its essence, Buddhism is deeply tolerant; but ours in fact has lost too much of its authority.. In the field of manners, as in religion, our monks are far from being the elite they are supposed to be."

One early missionary summarized the conflict between groups in Laos that are outwardly Buddhist, yet in reality know very little about the faith they so boldly profess: "Ask any person you meet a few questions about the sage who propounded the faith they are supposed to hold, and it will be speedily discovered they...know little of the life and less of the teaching of him whom they apparently worship. The great moral precepts of this religion are not taught to them, are unknown to them."

The Yoy live in a part of Laos with few known churches. They have lived for centuries with little knowledge of Christianity.

Prayer Points

* Pray that the Yoy will glorify God and follow His ways.
* Ask God to send Christians to witness His life among the Yoy.
* Pray the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of the Yoy to humbly accept Jesus Christ.

Text Source:   Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted © 2021  Used with permission