God's Word For Isan -- Mekong Bible Translation Project of Northeast Thailand
God's Word For Isan -- The People and the Project
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Copyright © Ron Myers & Mekong (Isan) Bible Translation Project; All Rights Reserved.
"THE PROJECT DEFINED"

The
Mekong Bible Translation Project of Northeast Thailand
or
"GOD'S WORD FOR ISAN"
 

Vision and Purpose Statement:
Motivated by God's Love, Empowered by the Holy Spirit, and in Direct Obedience to the Biblical Great Commission, We Endeavor to Speed God's Eternal Life-giving Word to the Twenty-three Million Bibleless Isan People Dwelling in Thailand's Vast Northeastern Region and to Others Beyond, Translated Accurately Into Their Own Heart Language.

"For the entrance of thy words giveth light" ... "so then faith cometh by hearing the Word of God."
(Ps 119:130; Rom 10:17) . . .


Dedication Statement:
This site is dedicated to the Bibleless Isan People of Northeast Thailand, and to providing you with interesting and enlightening information about the people there and the Bible translation being done in their language.

Please bookmark this page, share it with church friends, and check back for occasional updates.

GO TO: Frequently Asked Questions

GO TO: Salvation Buddhist-style: the Eight-Fold Middle Path to Nirvana:



"THE PROJECT'S MAGNITUDE"

TWENTY-THREE MILLION ISAN PEOPLE, STILL WITHOUT
THE WORD OF GOD IN THEIR OWN HEART LANGUAGE !

~ ~ ~

SO, HOW MANY PEOPLE COMPRISE TWENTY-THREE MILLION (23,000,000) ??
(2010 Thai Census Figures)

~ ~ ~

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, twenty-three million Isan people would span approximately 5,600 miles.
That's more than the distance from New York City to Los Angeles, and back again!

OR

Equal to the combined total population of 17 States: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming
. . .plus the District of Columbia! 

OR

Equal to the total population of New York State, including New York City, plus another ten percent!

~ ~ ~

(figures taken from the US National Census Bureau state estimates for 1998)


A Typical Field Scene During Rice-planting Season in Isan (Northeast Thailand)

Glutinous or sticky rice, being the primary "meat and potatoes" staple for all Isan people of rural Northeastern Thailand, is served at each and every meal. (This is true across the Mekong River in neighboring Laos as well.). Rice planting, Isan style, is tedious and back-breaking work. Each rice plant is transplanted by hand by bending over and forcing the roots of the tender young rice plant down into the soft warm mud, one at a time. Usually relatives and extended families band together to help with each other's fields until everyone's rice paddies are planted. Planting and harvest time in Isan are similar in that they are important socio-cultural events, central to village life, where young people can meet and court as families and friends unite around an indispensable, life-sustaining commodity: glutinous rice, their " staple of life."

~ ~ ~ 
"And Jesus said . . ., 'I am the bread (sustaining staple) of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.' " (John's Gospel 6:35)
~ ~ ~ 
Rice Planting Season:   As important as bodily nourishment is to sustain physical existence, spiritual nourishment unto eternal life (to which Jesus is referring in the above verse), plays an even more vital role. Jesus is that spiritual food that they need -- the Eternal Living Word of God, the Almighty Creator and Savior. He is what the Isan people should be hungering for. Unfortunately, they do not yet have access to God's Word in their own mother tongue, the Isan language, nor do they understand that He is their Creator and Savior. God's Word in their language is the key. (See FAQ #5: How Well Is the Isan Translation Received)
~ ~ ~ 
On the bright side, many New Testament books have already been completed, checked and printed in trial editions, and distributed in selected areas around the Northeast. (See FAQ #8: Progress, Goals & Projections) It is the goal of the Mekong Bible Translation Project, if the Lord tarries, to have the entire Isan New Testament, along with Genesis and selected portions of the Old Testament, completed, checked, printed, and distributed into the hands of Northeast Thailand's twenty-three million Isan people by the year 2005. (See FAQ #8A: How can a person participate?)

"THE PROJECT'S CHALLENGES"

BUDDHISM:
THAILAND'S STATE-ORDAINED SOCIO-CULTURAL RELIGIOUS SYSTEM

Apprentice Buddhist MonksTherevda Buddhism is a metaphysical philosophy without any concept of a Creator-God, or a Supreme Being to whom one is ultimately accountable. Based on human effort and good works, Buddhism is the state-ordained religious system of the land. Spiced with mixture of Brahmanism and superstitious folk beliefs, the total package forms a powerful socio-cultural identification. The general thinking is: to be Thai is to be Buddhist (94%). Biblical Christianity (still below 1%)entered the Kingdom of Thailand over 175 years ago with Adroniram Judson, but is not readily understood or widely embraced, even to this day.

Pictured (above left) in their bright saffron robes, young Thai-Isan boys between the age of 8 to 19 have entered the monkhood as neens, or novice apprentices. When they reach the age of 20, they can be ordained as adult monks, as the monk below has done. Novices must adhere to a behavioral code of 10 prohibitive precepts, while adult monks must observe a regimen of 227 precepts. These precepts are memorized by rote in Pali, an ancient language sacred to Thai Buddhism. 

Salvation Buddhist-style:
the Eight-Fold Middle Path to Nirvana:
Buddhism: Face of Golden Buddhist Idol

FOREWORD: Salvation -- Buddhist-style

  • First: you must keep in mind that Buddhists have absolutely no understanding of a Supreme Being to whom they will be accountable, or concept of a Creator God, or where things came from.   So, Biblical Christianity -- even when they hear a clear presentation of the Gospel -- is automatically interpreted by them as merely another set of behavioral-oriented "Golden Rules" to be kept, and Jesus Christ as the foreigner's Guru. (Teaching initially about Creation and the Creator, the Fall, etc., and by saving Jesus' Name and the Gospel until later clears things up immensely.)

  • Second: to understand a devoted Buddhist's mindset and demeanor, you must have an understanding of Buddhism's four noble truths and the eight-fold path. Also, the Buddhist concepts of non-self, impermanence and personal aestheticism.

  • Third: by practicing and adhering to this "Path to Higher Consciousness," (seen below) it is taught that one will transcend to "higher" intuitive wisdom, insight and superior-knowledge.   Thus, by shedding one's self of all ill will, negative deeds, corrupt addictions and fleshly cravings, and by realizing one's true "self-reality," one can pierce through the shell of ignorant earthly delusion to escape the Karmic cycle of reincarnation to enter the highest state, i.e., Nirvana, where one ceases to exist -- like a soap bubble that pops and disappears into thin air.
  • Path #1  Right Understanding: i.e., Knowledge of the Four Noble Truths:  
  • Truth #1  All in existence is impermanent and as such is inherently ill (bad) and corrupt and detachable from one's true self
  • Truth #2  All that is ill and corrupt is delusional, based on ignorance and perpetuated by fleshly cravings; 
  • Truth #3  Cessation of all ill and corrupt cravings brings an end to all reincarnations, thus attaining Nirvana; 
  • Truth #4  Nirvana is the absolute, changeless, permanent state of perfection -- the attainment of self-realization and true wisdom. 
  • Path #2  Right Aims: Aspire to attain realization of Nirvana, i.e., perfect wisdom, the ultimate true permanent reality. 
  • Path #3  Right Speech: Abstain from all lying, falsehoods, evil, abusive and frivolous speech. 
  • Path #4  Right Actions: Abstain from all acts causing the cessation of life, from all stealing, from all sensual pleasure, from all evil acts, from all forms of intoxication. 
  • Path #5  Right Living: Abstain from all evil living and all manner of ill-gotten gain or means of livelihood. 
  • Path #6  Right Effort: Abstain from all evil states of mind; foster and maintain virtuous states of mind; compassion, pity, sympathy, calmness and tranquility 
  • Path #7  Right Mindedness: Regard everything as being impermanent, ill and corrupt: i.e., all feelings, perceptions, inclinations, consciousness, thoughts, mental states, mental images and mental activities. 
  • Path #8  Right Concentration: Foster dispassion, detachment, and revulsion for the things of the world as being decaying and impermanent. Practice aloofness from evil states of mind, from the senses, and all sensations. Practice dwelling in solitude and seclusion, meditating and reflecting with singleness of mind.  
Buddhism: Giving and Receiving Alms
CONCLUSION: As one attains to these higher states of self-enlightenment of mind and consciousness, the illusory nature of one's transitory surroundings becomes clearly perceived, both intuitively and through one's own efforts, directed by the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. Consequently, the true state of self-reality unfolds and personal enlightenment is reached, the rite of passage into Nirvana's state of blissful perfection. This is all attained by one's own bootstrapefforts according to the oft-repeated Buddhist adage, "Self is one's own source of refuge (or salvation)."

Nirvana (or Ni-pah-na), is not a metaphysical or spiritual place of refuge for the soul, but a state where one's person, spirit or soul ceases to exist as an entity. This is said to be attainable after passage through a series of reincarnation cycles which provide the seeker with repeated opportunities to shed all manner of personal faults and selfish desires. This self cleansing and personal improvement is mandatory before being able to attain entrance into the cosmic pool known as Nirvana. 

Thus, the sacred duty of ever Thai Buddhist Monk, by definition, is to: keep the two-hundred twenty-eight mandatory rules all monks are required to observe (as opposed to only five and/or eight for the laity); study the Buddhist writings; recite the Buddhist precepts in Pali daily -- for themselves and the laity to hear; offer chants of blessing at weddings, funerals and other auspicious occasions, like new house warmings or when someone opens a new place of business; offer spiritual wisdom and advice (and often hot tips for buying lottery numbers); help collect funds for Buddhist charities, i.e., usually to build or improve temple facilities; receive alms from "the faithful," who are seeking to build their own merit; groom and maintain the temple grounds; and sit in meditation, reciting their personal mantra. 

This is "the path" Thai Buddhists must trod as they seek to build their own stockpile of merit to achieve enlightenment unto Nirvana. This is done after the teachings and example of their highly-revered Lord Buddha who has gone before them to . . . Nirvana(?). 

"MISC. PROJECT DETAILS"

Isan Region of Northeast Thailand, and Adjacent Area

Map of Thailand and Vicinity

Situated in mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand occupies nearly 200,000 sq. miles (518,000 sq. k.m.) in area land mass or nearly 3/4 the area of Texas. Thailand stretches approximately 985 miles (1,585 k.m.) from north-to-south and approximately 510 miles (821 k.m.) from east-to-west.

Note the location of Thailand's Isan Region (highlighted here in VIOLET), and its surrounding vicinity and proximity to the Mekong River and Laos. The Isan Region (another term for Northeast Thailand) is divided into 19 provinces and comprises approximately 1/3 of Thailand's total land mass and population. 

The pragmatic Thais often describe their country as being in the shape of an elephant's head: the Northeastern or 'Isan' region is likened unto the elephant's left ear; the mountainous Northern region is the right ear; the Central plains region is the head; the Southern region (Malay Peninsula) is the trunk; while the Gulf of Siam near Bangkok is elephant's mouth.

Ron with Pastor PreChaa, Former Translation Assistant

Ron Myers and Mr. Prechaa
A recent photograph of Ron Myers (cross-cultural missionary and Bible translator) with Pastor Prechaa (a faithful believer and former translation assistant). 

Pastor Prechaa, of Phu Thai tribal ethnicity, presently lives in Mukdahan Province, Northeast Thailand, in the general area where he was born and raised. There, he evangelizes and helps oversee a small local church that meets in their home. Prechaa also sells food stuffs in the local open-air market to help support himself and his family.


Mekong (Isan) Bible Translation Project of Northeast Thailand

GO TO: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Table of Contents)



Baptist World Missionary Outreach Ministries
PO Box 3303, Chattanooga, TN 37404

Ron and Cheryl Myers (Missionaries to Thailand since 1973)
Ron and Cheryl Myers

Ron and Cheryl first arrived in Thailand in 1973.
After a year of further language studies in Bangkok, they moved to a remote area of Thailand's Northeastern region.
They first ministered among the village-dwelling Isan people, and later relocated to the area provincial capital.
Their four children grew up there with them, their two daughters being born at Bangkok Christian Hospital.


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The Mekong (Isan) Bible Translation Web Site.
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. . . For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.    (Habakkuk 2:14) . . .


Home Intro Project FAQs Brochure Buddhism Endorsements True Stories Pictures Bio Needs Beliefs Thesis Downloads
Copyright © Ron Myers & Mekong (Isan) Bible Translation Project; All Rights Reserved.