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“We have no idea where the world came from…
but we must follow the laws of our ancestor spirits.”
WHO ARE THE SO?
The So people are descendants of some of the original tribes of mainland Southeast Asia. They speak a Mon-Khmer language (completely separate from Lao) and have a distinct culture and worldview. Other names for the So include: Mangkong, Kha So, So Tri and Lao Teung.
The Lao So are subsistence farmers and most live below the poverty line. They are devoted Animists who worship ancestors and spirits. They have many fears, superstitions and ceremonies to appease the spirits.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
Today the So live in the same region in Laos as they did thousands of years ago, with the exception of an additional group of So living in Northeast Thailand (35,000). Our research indicates approximately 60,000 So people in central Laos. They usually live in areas that are rural, mountainous, difficult and loads of fun to reach.
In addition to geographical limitations in reaching the So there are also political ones. Government restrictions and persecution makes stepping out a little risky. But the Gospel has never gone forth without risk. And besides, He has already gone ahead of us. Our job is to simply go into the valleys, villages and homes to find the hearts of peace that God's already prepared.
HOW MANY FOLLOW JESUS?
The So of Laos have lived in relative isolation for centuries. Most have never heard of Jesus - but that is beginning to change. As of 2014, there are about 85-90 So believers located in Laos (with 25-30 in Thailand). Of the total So population, only 0.05 percent follow Jesus. They are classified as an Unreached People Group (UPG).
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