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Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest All rights reserved. Used with permission
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Although they maintain a separate ethnicity, the Nyaw speak a language similar to Phutai. When people from the two groups meet, they are able to communicate with each other without too many problems except some different pronunciation and a few different words. Because of these similarities, the Nyaw were counted as part of the Phutai ethnic group in the 1995 Lao census.
The Nyaw live in central Laos. Their main location in Laos is within the Pakkading District of Borikhamxai Province, where they are spread out over almost the entire district. They spill over into the Pakxan and Borikhan districts of Borikhamxai, and also the Hinboun District of Khammouan Province. An unspecified number of Nyaw yo also live among the Thai Isan people in northeastern Thailand. More live in Thailand than Laos.
Many Nyaw live along the Mekong River, which they fish from. The Mekong is the 12th longest river in the world (the 10th largest in terms of volume). Until recently, there was not a single bridge crossing the Mekong into Laos. The Thai-Lao Friendship bridge, constructed with the help of the Australian government, was opened in late 1993.
The Nyaw believe in many spirits and gods. Buddhism has made little impact on them despite the fact they have lived alongside the Lao for a considerable time. Some of the major spirits worshipped by the Nyaw include the spirit of the rice, water, forest, village, and trees. They also worship the spirit of heaven, as do the Phutai.
There are a small number of known Tai Nyo Christ followers on both sides of the Lao-Thai border. They usually meet in Lao churches in Laos, or Isan churches in Thailand.
Fervently intercede so that all Nyaw would soon receive a gospel witness, and many would trust in Jesus Christ.
Pray the gospel would spread among Nyaw families to those who remain trapped in spirit worship.
Ask God to raise up laborers to help start a church planting movement among the Nyaw.
Pray for the Lord to demonstrate his power and love by providing them with an abundant harvest this year.