Pnong

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

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.

People-Group Facts

  • Population: 30,000
  • Trade Language: Khmer
  • Heart Language: Pnong
  • Religion: Animism

Frontier Stories

Lessons from This and That

I knew that the future held endless possibilities for This, That and the entire Pnong community.

By: Rene Theunissen
June 01 2024, 2:22 pm | Comments 0

Sharing the Blessing

I give glory to God, not only for healing hearts but also for restoring families in the material sense.

By: Cris Jara
May 01 2024, 8:48 am | Comments 0

The Flip-Flop Epiphany

Life is a glorious, messy, flip-flop-flinging adventure. Embrace it, laugh and hold on tight.

By: Rene Theunissen
May 01 2024, 8:42 am | Comments 0

The Safest Place to Be

It’s an intricate dance, and when you hit a flow during those forty minutes of class, the world melts away. There is nothing like that feeling.

By: Dailyn Patino
February 01 2024, 10:24 am | Comments 0

Christmas in Pnong

Although we collaborated on what they asked us to do, they were the ones who decided how they wanted to celebrate Christmas and prepared the program themselves.

By: Cristian Jara
February 01 2024, 10:22 am | Comments 0

Corner of My Eye

I pray that as our shadows fall on someone today, they will be shadows of healing, peace, and love, much as the disciple Peter casts in the book Acts.

By: Rene Theunissen
January 01 2024, 10:08 am | Comments 0

This is War!

It was the first night since her husband’s death that this woman was able to sleep peacefully.

By: Cristian Jara
January 01 2024, 9:56 am | Comments 0

Business or Ministry . . . or Both?

Please pray that God will lead in this relationship and how we work with Augustus to provide a living example of this ministry model.

By: Veronica Nicholaides
December 01 2023, 9:36 am | Comments 0

Up, Up and Away

I pray that by this experience, the boys will learn how to follow God’s instructions as He bids them, “Follow Me.”

By: Deon Theunissen
December 01 2023, 9:18 am | Comments 0

Seeing Eye-to-Eye

Indeed, our understanding of what God wants us to do is virtually the same. Of course, we will have to develop the details, but we expect God to continue to show us the next steps as we follow the first ones He gives us.

By: Veronica Nicholaides
November 01 2023, 9:08 am | Comments 0

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