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Lawi in Laos


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,200 Lavi Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Lawi in Laos

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Introduction / History
The 1995 census of Laos listed 538 ethnic Lawi people living in southern Laos, in the Laman District of Xekong Province. Another ethnographic study from the same year listed 300 Lawi people in 60 families, living in three villages.

The Lawi have lived in the same location for at least four generations. Before that they may have migrated from Vietnam. The area inhabited by the Lawi today is the traditional home of the Alak. In recent decades the Lao and the Talieng have also entered the area and built communities.

The population of the Lawi has remained stable for many years, possibly the result of poor hygiene and epidemics. Fifty years ago there were only two Lawi villages. This number increased to four villages about 15 years ago, before the people decided to combine two villages, bringing the present number of Lawi villages to three.

Lawi homes are renown for their custom of making sculptured and painted ladders that lead into the house.

The Lawi language is rare in Laos in that it is part of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. *

Traditionally, the Lawi are animists. Today, although they still focus on appeasing the spirits, their ceremonies have become far less regular. Up until about 30 years ago they also celebrated an annual ceremony of war, where they called on various spirits to heal them of sickness and to bless their community.

In times of disaster or sickness, the Lawi called in a Djamon (sorcerer) to find the offended spirit. A ceremony was held where the sorcerer counted grains of rice. If the offended spirit was a 'small spirit' the people prayed. If it was a 'large spirit' a buffalo and a pig were sacrificed.

The Lawi have no knowledge of the Gospel or the Person of Christ. The counterparts of the Lawi in Vietnam, the Gia Rai, number more than 80,000 Christians today. The Gia Rai may be best placed to focus on the Lawi in Laos.

Prayer Points
* Pray Gia Rai Christians in Vietnam would find ways to take the Gospel to the similar Lawi in Laos.
* Lift up the needy Lawi before God's throne of grace.
* Pray groups like the Lawi would not be considered too small for consideration by churches and ministries.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
* Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.

* Statement edited based on updated information.

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Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Laos
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:19 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:Xekong province: Lavi Fang Daeng village, south of Xekong town. Two other villages.
(Source: Ethnologue 2019)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Lawi
People Name General: Lawi
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 105685
Joshua Project People ID: 13015
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,200
Population all Countries: 1,200
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Southeast Asian, other
People Name General: Lawi
Ethnic Code: AUG03z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Lavi (1,200 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): lvi    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions100.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Lawi in Laos

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Southeast Asian, other     Asia, Southeast    
      Lawi Laos    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Lawi in Laos          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Lavi  
    All Religions                              

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