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

I Need a Miracle

I know Pu Pbaw, Muy, Phano and the others are pondering. They are watching my life. And that is where I need the miracle to happen. I need to rest my efforts and hear His voice.

By: Joshua Lewis
November 01 2019, 2:01 pm | Comments 0

Eating My Gods

Atu has showed me again just how much willing to sacrifice for love. Please pray that he will come to know the God of love.

By: Joshua Lewis
October 01 2019, 9:37 am | Comments 0

A Divine Appointment

God, I prayed, I’m Your missionary just trying to go take care of my wife. She’s alone and going through morning sickness. She needs me. I don’t know why no taxis are stopping. But whatever Your plan is, I thank You.

By: Joshua Lewis
September 01 2019, 1:44 pm | Comments 0

Reading with Azim

Though Azim still considers himself a Muslim, he loves reading the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is working, and I am just trying to keep up.

By: Eric Tirado
September 01 2019, 1:40 pm | Comments 0

Vat Comes to Church

Please pray that not only Vat would come to Christ but that both sides of his family would come together.

By: Joshua Lewis
August 01 2019, 1:54 pm | Comments 0

Broken Feet

Mission work carries on. There is much work I can still do while off my feet, and the change of life also brought new opportunities to make friends, learn new vocabulary and speak of God’s love.

By: Eric Tirado
July 01 2019, 8:57 am | Comments 13

Communion and Farewell

God has brought others to us to study from His Word and to become baptized into the faith that we hold so precious.

By: Bo Hutchison
June 01 2019, 9:38 am | Comments 0

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 24

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

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