Thailand (Pioneers) — A palpable heaviness hits you when get off the plane in Thailand. A friend once told me that it’s much like the lead vest the dentist covers you with when he takes x-rays of your teeth.
At first you really feel the weight of it, but after a few minutes you forget it’s there. But when the dentist takes it off, you breathe more deeply and with more ease without that extra weight. Stepping into Thailand is like putting on a vest of spiritual oppression. You see it on the street and feel it in the air.
To be Thai is to be Buddhist. For them it seems impossible to separate one from the other. However, the religion they practice is more of a “folk Buddhism”–Buddhism mixed with Hinduism, ancestor worship, spirit worship, and animism. The most obvious evidence of their folk Buddhist practices is the spirit house.
A spirit house looks like a strangely ornate birdhouse or miniature temple replica. But the more you move about in Thailand, the more spirit houses you see. They are everywhere: in front of small personal businesses, outside of shopping malls, at the airport, in public parks, at apartment complexes, in the yards of every home. And there are spirit house shops that offer hundreds of models for you to buy in order to bless your own property.
Spirit houses are highly revered in Thailand, or more importantly, the spirits who live within them. Spirit houses are constructed to offer a beautiful and respectful place for the spirits to reside. Thai people believe the spirits have incredible influence on everything that happens in that place.
Health and happiness or sickness and trouble for the family living in that house. Wealth and success or loss and failure for that business. Each morning, property owners make offerings of food and drink to the spirits. They pray with incense while begging for favor and blessing from good spirits. Then they appease the bad spirits and ask for pardon from destruction. Sadly, this very practice binds the people to evil spirits and blinds them from the truth of Jesus Christ.
Who will go and share the Good News so they might have opportunity to become a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit above all others? Would you consider going? See opportunities to share God’s love with people in the Buddhist world by doing a search here.