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Articles by Dawn Phillips

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The Isaan: In Need of a Savior

Singing. Laughter. Jokes as they work. The most hilarious revelers during the Thai New Year celebration. Poverty. Constantly moving to find work. Despair. Hard, monotonous jobs.

These two extremes reflect one people: the 20 million Isaan of northeastern Thailand, a people group lost in spiritual darkness.

Monks chant repeatedly at Isaan funerals: "There is no hope, only suffering ... Dead, never to arise." But four Southern Baptist missionary couples and a few nationals are working to bring the light of Jesus to the Isaan.

Buddhism teaches the Isaan that good works and countless reincarnations will release them from this world's suffering, says missionary Mark Caldwell. Animism leads them to make offerings to spirits for protection from evil or in gratitude for blessing.

The Isaan region is the poorest in Thailand. Historically, the Isaan are poor rice farmers, but in the last two decades many have migrated to Bangkok and other cities for w...