Introduction / History
When Vietnam was in chaos at the end of the 1700s, several ethnic groups united with groups of Thai speaking peoples. These people became known as the Tho. Today, they are regarded as an official minority in Vietnam. They prefer to be known as "Tay," since the term "Tho" is now considered derogatory.
Through the decades, a small number of the Tay people have moved to France. The largest number emigrated when Vietnam became fully communist in 1975, and the last of the Tay people arrived in the 1990s. That leaves them plenty of time to become somewhat assimilated.
Where are they located?
The vast majority of them still live in Vietnam where they are a prominent minority group in the northern regions. The Tay people in France are most likely to be found in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, or Toulouse.
What are their lives like?
Unlike many other immigrant groups, the Tay people and their cousins, the Vietnamese, have been in France so long that they are largely assimilated. They have ties to family members and friends in Vietnam.
What are their beliefs?
The Tay worship a multitude of gods. They practice ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for protection and guidance). The Tay are also animistic (believe that non-living objects have spirits). Traditionally, most Tay villages had temples where they worshipped a multitude of gods associated with earth, water, fire, and important ancestors. Many of them have also adopted Buddhism, because of the influence of the people around them in Vietnam. Those who live in France probably are more secular than those who live in Vietnam.
What are their needs?
It has been decades since the Tay people migrated to France, so the window of opportunity to reach them when they are spiritually open is closed. Those who remain are largely Buddhist or hold to traditional religion. Some are secular. There is not a strong Christian witness in France, so it will take a deliberate effort to reach them for Christ.
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to share Christ with the Tay people, both in Vietnam and France.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Tay toward believers so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Tay.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among the Tay people, both in France and in Vietnam.
Text source: Keith Carey