Lao in Argentina

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Lao (or Laotian Tai) are from the lowland regions of Laos. Their language, also called Lao, is a Lao-Phutai dialect of the Tai language family. Centuries ago, the Lao lived in China. However, relentless pressure by the Chinese gradually forced them southward, and many settled along the Mekong River in the eighth or ninth century. When the Lao Kingdom was replaced by a communist administration during World War II, many Lao fled to Burma and Thailand.

For years, Laos was the battlefield for the conflicts of other nations, as well as the object of political competition between Russia, China and Vietnam. During this time many migrated to other countries like Argentina where they could live in peace. It was difficult for those who went to Argentina in the late 70s and early 80s. The Argentine economy was in trouble, and there were few jobs for outsiders. Some managed to get low-paying jobs as farm workers or small time landowners. Not many Lao people remained in that South American country.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today the Lao in Argentina are becoming acculturated, learning Spanish and enjoying what freedom has to offer. They have many opportunities they never had in Laos, but they want to maintain their traditional culture. This is especially true for those who first migrated to Argentina.

The Buddhist Wat, or temple, is the center of Lao cultural life. Their social structure is based on family units, with no widespread lineages or clans.

The Lao have a variety of folk arts, which include weaving, basket making, wood and ivory carving, and working with silver and gold.

What Are Their Beliefs?

More than half of the Lao are Buddhists. Lao Buddhists believe that right thinking, ritual sacrifices, and self-denial will enable the soul to reach nirvana (a state of eternal bliss) at death. They live in fear of their gods and constantly strive to appease them with religious chants, rituals and sacrifices. They also believe that existence is a continuing cycle of death and rebirth, a process known as reincarnation.

Many are ethnic religionists, combining folk animism (belief that non-living objects have spirits) with Buddhism. They seek help through various supernatural beings and objects. Of major importance to them are the territorial deities. Such traditional beliefs are becoming weaker for those living in far-away Argentina. Some area now Roman Catholic like the Argentine majority. A small number are Evangelical.

What Are Their Needs?

The Lao were greatly affected by the fighting and bloodshed of the 1970s. The older Lao people might need inner healing and counseling. As often happens with immigrant groups, the younger generation is more Argentine than their parents and grandparents. That can sometimes cause inter-generational conflict. But they might be open to looking beyond their traditional religion for new answers.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Argentina and share Christ with the Buddhist Lao.

Ask God to use Lao believers to share the love of Jesus with their own people.

Pray for a movement of Lao disciples making Lao disciples in Argentina.

Pray for the blood of Jesus Christ to break through any barriers that keep them away from the cross and the empty grave.

Scripture Prayers for the Lao in Argentina.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Lao
People Name in Country Lao
Pronunciation lao
Alternate Names Eastern Thai; Lào; Lao Boc; Lao Noi; Lao Wiang; Lao-Lu; Lao-Noi; Laotian Tai; Laotian Thai; Lum Lao; Phou Lao; Rong Kong; Tai Lao; Ts'un Lao
Population this Country 2,000
Population all Countries 4,008,000
Total Countries 11
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 12989
ROP3 Code 105643
ROP25 Code 304598
ROP25 Name Lao
Country Argentina
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Argentina
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Theravada
Major Religion Percent
90.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.80 %)
10.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Lao
Language Code lao   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Lao
Language Code lao   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Lao

Primary Language:  Lao

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1906-1967)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1926-1973)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1932-2012)
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Lao Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video The Hope Video Mars Hill Media
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
General Zume Resources Zume Project
General Zume Training Zume Project
Mobile App Android Bible app: Lao YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Lao YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Lao Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source Cambodia Research Network 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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