Chinese Union Mission

From Folk Buddhism to Jesus


The northern Thai provinces of Chaing Mai and Chiang Rai are home to thousands of Chinese people. They are descendants of soldiers and civilians who fled from China’s Yunnan province during the Chinese Civil War around the 1940s. 


Initially, they were stationed in Laos and Myanmar before arriving in Thailand. A good number of them have no citizenship from any of these countries and work on the land as a means of survival. Others have Thai citizenship; a small minority has Taiwanese citizenship.


They live in the 108 Chinese villages of northern Thailand and find great importance in maintaining Chinese culture and speaking Mandarin. 


In 2010, Chinese Adventist missionaries arrived in the region for the first time to share the good news of Jesus with these people. After praying and considering ways to make friends with them, they decided to offer Mandarin classes for children and youth. This effort proved successful, and through it, many later came to study the Bible. Among them was a lady named Zhong Yan. She made friends with the Chinese missionaries and enjoyed hearing about God and Jesus. However, she was traditionally an animist. The majority of the population in those villages practice folk Buddhism, in which they believe in ghosts, luck chants, spells, among other beliefs.


Zhong Yan had a shrine with idols in her house and worshiped them regularly to obtain protection and blessings from heaven. She was never taught how it really worked, though, and kept comparing those beliefs with the missionaries’ teaching.


Almost four years after she met the missionaries, Zhong Yan called one of them and said she decided to throw away all her idols as she begun worshiping God. She understood now that there was one only God, creator of everything, who loved and cared for her. She learned salvation could come only through Jesus, not through sacrifices to idols.


As Zhong Yan progressed in learning, she requested to be baptized. In January 2021, Pastor Gus, from the Chinese Union Mission (CHUM) had the privilege of baptizing her and her daughter, who was also studying the Bible. 


One year passed, and when Pastor Gus revisited Zhong Yan, she said, “God is so wonderful! Every day, I pray to Him, and He often makes my way straight. When I have difficulties, He helps me solve them. When I need wisdom, He gives me counseling. When I need anything, God will always provide!”


Thanks to God’s work through Global Chinese Missions in the northern Thai Chinese villages, Zhong Yan is now walking with Jesus.


Your support of Global Chinese Missions leads to many more unreached Chinese knowing Jesus! We invite you to pray for the Chines Union Mission.