“You are a traitor! You are rejecting your culture! You are insulting your people and race! You are dishonoring your parents!”
In Cambodia, those who have decided to follow Christ, whether from a Buddhist or Muslim background, will be accused of betraying their culture, traditions, race and family. In a context where all people of one ethnicity are almost entirely under the same religion, the ethnicity itself becomes synonymous with that religion in people’s minds.
The Khmer people of Cambodia are primarily Buddhist, and the Great River People of Cambodia are almost entirely Muslim.
Since his baptism, Katiet went to work with Bible translators to produce the first New Testament in the language of his people. After completing the New Testament translation, he returned to his village, where he was shamed and ridiculed.
For a time, we hired him to work with us, and he decided to rent a small place near our property. We needed much help in our newly purchased land, and this allowed us to spend some time with him.
Then suddenly, he stopped coming to work with us and moved back to his village. Unsure of what happened, we gave him some space and time. A couple of months later, I spent a day with him, helping him in his rice fields. There he began to apologize for having left his job with us. He was ashamed to tell us why and embarrassed to ask us to take him back.
He told me that he and his wife were constantly mocked while working with us. His wife, who is not yet a Christian, could not handle the pressure, and she wished to return to be with her family. So he decided to return to his village to work as a welder again. Katiet and his wife were accused of converting for money, despite being a Christian for years before we hired him and making less money working with us.
He thought everything would go back to normal if he returned to his village and welding, but Katiet discovered that the pressure would never cease as long as he followed Jesus.
He is currently living in his uncle’s house until he can build his own. Just recently, his uncle told Katiet not to read the Bible in his house. At his welding job, his boss told Katiet that they would not need him if he would not work on Sabbath. We told him that we had more work for him if he desired to work with us again. He did not hesitate.
Katiet continues to read the Bible with his wife despite his uncle’s threats. He also studies with his neighbors in their houses. The stories of the faithfulness of Daniel and his three friends have encouraged him to be faithful no matter how much shame and ridicule he experiences.
Katiet has also been helping me produce several audio Bible readings and sermons to share through social media, made specifically for reaching the Great River People.
Would you please pray right now for our believers to have divine strength and courage, though they are relentlessly troubled from every side? Pray for us to be a good example, discern their needs, and be there for them as their family in Christ. Finally, pray for Katiet and the rest of our missionary team as we work together for the salvation of the Great River People.