About the People
Far up in the northeastern corner of Cambodia, in Mondulkiri province near the Vietnam border, there are broad, sweeping, forest-covered hills with waterfalls and rivers in the deep valleys. Scattered throughout this woodland area are the Pnong people, who typically live in thatched bamboo, two-story longhouses with rounded ends. These farmers and foresters are known for taming elephants to haul trees and cargo. They practice labor-intensive slash-and-burn agriculture, following a 15- to 20-year cycle, using one site for up to five years before moving to a new location.
The Pnong are animists whose lives center around the worship of many nature spirits and performing ceremonies designed to appease and manipulate them.
About the Project
In the mid-1950s, the Pnong people heard of Jesus and invited missionaries to come and teach them. Mission agencies were unable to answer the call at that time, and the tribe sent another request in the mid-1960s. Then regional hostilities broke out, leading up to the Vietnam War. The Ho Chi Minh Trail ran through Pnong territory, so many fled the bombings and became refugees in Vietnam, where some were finally able to learn the gospel. Now, there are about a thousand Christians among the Pnong.
The Pnong are usually short of food for three to five months a year between harvests. During this time, they forage in the forest, hunt, fish or gather resin to sell. Major tracts of land have been logged, sold or otherwise removed from the traditional owners of the Bunong community, leading to a decrease in basic resources.
Until recently, the Pnong language was only spoken, not written. Many Pnong do not speak the trade language, Khmer, very well. Their ability to interact with the broader society is limited, preventing the adoption of innovations and ideas from the outside. The majority of Pnong people lack math skills and are often cheated in the marketplace. Also, as outside influences encroach with alarming speed and impact, the Pnong people are ill-equipped to adapt.
Most of all, the Pnong are grasping for stability and hope that can only be found in Christ. There is not yet a complete Pnong Bible translation, but one is underway.
- Population: 30,000
- Trade Language: Khmer
- Heart Language: Pnong
- Religion: Animism
May we have God so close to us that even after we die, the lives that we lived will continue testifying to others of God’s blessings and our hope.
May 01 2023, 10:22 am | Comments 0
God is in control of absolutely everything. I can only do my best and trust Him to do the rest.
May 01 2023, 9:30 am | Comments 0
Nothing is as amazing as seeing someone you have worked with surrender their life to serve our Heavenly Father.
April 01 2023, 2:44 pm | Comments 0
I am looking forward to our next prayer appointment. God is good all of the time, and He showed me that we should be an unlikely light every day.
April 01 2023, 2:35 pm | Comments 0
It does not matter if I do not have what it takes; He is faithful to provide and to do so in His timing. I did not have to do anything extraordinary; I just had to be willing to go. God took care of the rest.
March 01 2023, 2:30 pm | Comments 0
This mountain was a missionary to me in this place where few know and worship God as Creator. I want my life to preach my Creator’s life-giving love to a dying world.
March 01 2023, 11:31 am | Comments 0
For the first time, the Pnong people of our village performed the baptismal program themselves in their language and way.
Cris & Sol Jara
March 01 2023, 9:57 am | Comments 0
If you love someone, they will know it. Love cannot be misunderstood.
March 01 2023, 9:08 am | Comments 0