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

Saving a Finger

They have only known God as revealed in the Qur’an, but we pray that as their love and gratefulness to God increase, they will see the love of God in Jesus Christ.

By: Carly Tirado
March 01 2021, 12:00 pm | Comments 0

Soty and Vahiroh

Pray that Soty and Vahiroh will continue to have dreams of Jesus and that the Holy Spirit will draw their hearts to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

By: Joshua Lewis
March 01 2021, 10:06 am | Comments 0

One Sokha-Sala at a Time

Based on the great outcome we had from the first event, I am optimistic that we can slowly bring life-changing knowledge to our village and others, one sokha-sala at a time.

By: Carly Tirado
February 01 2021, 2:50 pm | Comments 0

Praise God!

Sreyneang has been transformed. She used to be filled with anger, cursing and yelling, but now she is filled with the fruits of the Spirit.

By: Joshua Lewis
February 01 2021, 2:43 pm | Comments 0

Google Translate—A Tool For Evangelism

God works in strange and awesome ways! He used me despite my inability to speak with Po and Ming. Please continue to pray for them as they learn more about Jesus and grow in faith.

By: Ryan Bell
January 01 2021, 10:26 am | Comments 0

Sryneang’s Testimony

Soty and his wife Vahiroh are recently pregnant. Pray for a healthy pregnancy and birth and that Soty and Vahiroh would desire to be baptized soon.

By: Joshua Lewis
January 01 2021, 10:21 am | Comments 0

Hit the Ground Running

Please pray with us that the devil’s efforts to stamp out the small flames of faith in our friends’ hearts will be thwarted.

By: Carly Tirado
January 01 2021, 9:47 am | Comments 0

Cambodia Bound

Please pray for our project as we strategize how best to reach the Great River People for God’s Kingdom.

By: Carly Tirado
November 01 2020, 11:01 am | Comments 0

The Heart Language of the Great River People

Azim has not only been an incredible friend and tutor, he has been God’s instrument to fling the door wide open into the heart language of the Great River People.

By: Eric Tirado
October 01 2020, 10:54 am | Comments 0

Reaching Out to New Mothers

As I write this, we are looking for an opportunity to re-enter Cambodia after the pandemic, and we look forward to making this a reality in the near future.

By: Carly Tirado
September 01 2020, 5:16 pm | Comments 0

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