Great River People

  • Pre-Entry
  • Pre-Evangelism
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Phase-Out
  • Completed

About the People

There are about 230,000 Great River People bordering the Mekong River and living near Southeastern Asia’s major cities, such as Phnom Penh. Extremely poor, they survive by farming, fishing, building boats, metalwork and light commerce. Their bamboo homes are elevated to protect against flooding and their diet consists of fish, rice, and vegetables. Because so many men were killed in the 1970s, Great River People line of descent is now traced through the women. The rural Great River People practice folk Islam, mixing veneration of the dead with magic and Muslim tradition (a blend of Animism and Islam). Outside efforts to promote Islam have stepped up recently and the Great River People define themselves more by their religion than their historical origins. There are no known churches or scriptures among this people group

This is an unreached Muslim people group in Southeast Asia numbering around half a million. Muslim missionaries from overseas are seeking to make them more orthodox. The opportunity for them to hear about the Savior and His truth for these last days is now!

About the Project

Since the first millennium A.D. when advanced civilizations of the present-day country in Southeast Asia populated the area, this Asian country has had a checkered history. A protectorate of France for nearly 100 years and a monarchy on and off since 1953, this Southeast Asia region has been decimated by decades of civil war and corruption. An estimated 1.5 to 3 million were killed during Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge reign when money, medicine, religion, and education all but disappeared.

Bordered by Thailand, Laos Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand, the nearly 70,000 square-mile country is 95 percent Buddhist (mostly Khmer people), three percent Islam (mostly Great River People), and only two percent Christian. Textiles and tourism provide most of the hard currency. This region’s* temperatures range from 50-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The wet season (May-October) and dry season (November-March) are both ushered in by tropical monsoons.

As our missionaries convey that we are people of faith through simple prayer ministry, spiritual conversations and kindness, they gain people’s confidence and by God’s grace win their hearts for Jesus. The goal is to plant groups of believers who can spread this message throughout the entire people group.

One of the keys to reaching the Great River people is health ministry. Through the use of simple health remedies, assisting the sick to find organizations able to help, and through the work of short-term medical teams, many people’s confidence has been won. AFM missionaries hope to begin a small health clinic to better meet the overwhelming need. The Great River people have a tremendous desire to learn English as well, and teaching English to elementary-age students is an avenue to reach these people. Future plans include expanding classes for older learners.

People-Group Facts

  • Population: 230,000
  • Trade Language: Khmer
  • Religion: 88% Islam, 10% Hindu.

Frontier Stories

In the Nick of Time

We envision ourselves living here for many years—as long as God wants us to—and becoming literate readers and fluent speakers.

By: Carly Tirado
April 01 2019, 9:05 am | Comments 0

Are You Okay?

When my neighbors saw me drive away in the police car, all their repressed fear and pain bubbled over.

By: Joshua Lewis
April 01 2019, 9:00 am | Comments 0

A Redeemed Rice Field and a New Friend

It is so much fun to plant seeds for the kingdom.

By: Bo Hutchison
March 01 2019, 3:19 pm | Comments 0

Launched!

Thankful for all of you who support us and pray for us, and thankful for our families who sacrificially allow us to be so far away. Thankful for what God has done to get us to Cambodia, and thankful for what He will continue to do.

By: Carly Tirado
February 01 2019, 9:33 am | Comments 0

Building a Spiritual House

Please join us in praying that God will use this time of building not only to construct physical structures but also to build up His spiritual house with living stones—the hearts of the Great River People.

By: Joshua & Stephanie Lewis
February 01 2019, 4:06 am | Comments 0

Grandma

We would love to see Grandma in heaven. Please pray that God would bless her understanding of Him, and that she would come to know Jesus as her Best Friend.

By: Bo & Kristin Hutchison
January 01 2019, 9:29 am | Comments 0

God Must be Crying, Too

How my heart aches for Rhia and her family. One day, I hope they will treasure the blessed hope we have in Jesus.

By: Stephanie Lewis
January 01 2019, 5:26 am | Comments 0

Launching to Cambodia

Thank you for being a coworker with God and with us to reach the unreached.

By: Eric & Carly Tirado
January 01 2019, 5:19 am | Comments 0

Ming Neang

Ming Neang made up her mind that, even if her friends rejected her for not drinking with them anymore, she would stay true.

By: Kristin Hutchison
December 01 2018, 9:55 am | Comments 0

Prince of Peace

Please pray for me as I interact with Mury and the other men around me that my influence would lift them up to God’s open arms.

By: Joshua Lewis
December 01 2018, 3:41 am | Comments 0

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