Eastern Lawa

Southeast Asia

This new Bible translation initiative is beginning at an opportune moment. Communities which have been hostile to Christianity and the Scriptures are now open to gaining literacy skills. A very small, fledgling church exists among the Eastern Lawa, who number about 10,000. So far, fewer than 20 have chosen to follow Christ.

Now living in 13 communities, the Eastern Lawa were the original inhabitants of Northern Thailand, before invaders forced them to flee to the mountains hundreds of years ago. They take pride in their culture and in using their language. However, fewer than one per cent of the people are literate in Eastern Lawa. 

Furthermore, education and government services are offered only in the Thai language. That creates significant language barriers for the majority of the people.

Most Eastern Lawa are farmers who practice animism or Buddhism. Many live in poverty and in fear of the spiritual realm. Most cannot read the Thai Bible for themselves, and if they can, they often do not understand it well.

You can help share the Word of God with the Eastern Lawa in their own language for the first time, and spread literacy.


You can help make an impact for eternity among the Eastern Lawa. Through your financial gifts and prayers, you will partner with a small group of committed Christians to begin translating the New Testament into their language. Initial priorities include translating the Gospel of Mark or Luke, the Epistles and parts of Acts. Other goals include:

  • Translate materials that will help the Eastern Lawa engage with the Scriptures.
  • Facilitate the production of Lawa songs and hymns.
  • Create a writing system that is widely accepted.
  • Create and distribute Eastern Lawa reading materials.
  • Teach literacy classes.
  • Host community outreach events.

Local translators, supported by experienced linguists and translators, aim to complete translation of the New Testament by 2032.


  • In December 2020, the team had a four-hour discussion with local leaders on how the Bible translation team and Wycliffe Thai foundation can contribute to the community.
  • 50 oral Bible stories are already complete and have been distributed via a smartphone app.
  • Youth volunteers with the Wycliffe Thai Foundation have helped share these stories in Eastern Lawa communities.
  • 15 scholarships for children, once rejected by community leaders, have been gratefully accepted over the past year.

Praise God that the transition reading primer is complete and that people in the community have been making copies of it. A transition primer helps those who can already read Thai to transition into reading and writing Eastern Lawa. In addition, the team has been working on a “first language” reading primer for people who cannot read Thai.


  • Visit the project regularly to monitor progress, address challenges and help ensure good stewardship of resources.
  • Send you regular updates to keep you informed of progress, financial need and prayer requests.
  • Send you an annual tax receipt for your donations.
Remaining Need:
$ to go
for 2020-2021
Additional funds raised will go towards the next 2 years in the funding cycle.

Your gift will help:

  • Bible translation
  • Capacity building
  • Engagement with Scripture