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

Thank You

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support that make it possible for us to share Christ among our brother and sisters in Cambodia!

By: Bo Hutchison
October 01 2018, 1:27 pm | Comments 0

Pain and Gain

When we push through hard times and come out the other side, we are stronger and healthier, and we can ride the high of knowing that God has provided for us yet again.

By: Carly Tirado
October 01 2018, 12:55 pm | Comments 0

God Provides

In His own timing, often at the last minute, God likes to show us His plans that are more beautiful than we can imagine.

By: Joshua Lewis
October 01 2018, 12:45 pm | Comments 1

Sovath’s Story

Sovath learned about Jesus through missionaries in the refugee camp. Now, Eric and I want to go back and give other Cambodians like my dad, Sovath, the chance to learn about Jesus and to find hope in His gospel.

By: Carly Tirado
September 01 2018, 7:51 am | Comments 0

A Great Awakening

For most Muslims, God is not a personal being we can know as a friend. Rather, He is a distant, powerful ruler. So I absolutely love it when they experience God as a friend who personally helps them through life’s trials!

By: Bo Hutchison
September 01 2018, 7:49 am | Comments 0

8,000 Miles in a Month

There are so many more friends to make for the Kingdom among the Great River people.

By: Bo Hutchison
August 01 2018, 6:19 am | Comments 0

Valuing the Right Thing

We can learn from Jesus and the Cambodians: take life as it comes and value personal encounters over personal agendas.

By: Carly Tirado
August 01 2018, 6:05 am | Comments 0

Night Meeting

Yusof and his wife are brand new believers, taking the steps they know to take.

By: Joshua Lewis
August 01 2018, 5:23 am | Comments 0

Great River Rebirths

We praise God for His Word as we watch it speak hope and faith into the hearts of those who study its sacred pages.

By: Bo Hutchison
July 01 2018, 5:26 am | Comments 0

We Don’t Always Get What We Want

God knew this situation would in some way be the means for yet more people to gain precious opportunities to know Him for who He is.

By: Bo Hutchison
June 01 2018, 5:32 am | Comments 0

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