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

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

Little Mary

May we become like little Mary. There is a world filled with unreached people just waiting to experience this love and kindness.

By: Rene Theunissen
November 01 2023, 8:53 am | Comments 0

Faith in Adversity

God does not promise that there will be no persecution. On the contrary, there will be. But at the same time, He offers to those who follow Him the gift of a great family of Christians who will support one another and fill the emptiness of the hearts of those who abandoned loved ones to follow Christ.

By: Cristian & Solange Jara
September 01 2023, 9:01 am | Comments 0

The Hill Tribe People of Ratanakiri

Later, when Jonathan told me about the mission’s invitation to start a new project in Ratanakiri province, I was very surprised. We had felt drawn to this area since our first visit. And just two weeks earlier, I had begun praying for God to open a way for us to work with dedicated young people and to apprentice them in mission service, a calling we have sensed building over several years. Could this be God’s answer to that prayer?

By: Veronica Nicholaides
September 01 2023, 8:55 am | Comments 0

Striving for More

Even though the church was not actively ministering, Deon and I began praying in front of empty pots before feeding homeless people. God would miraculously provide everything we needed.

By: Rene Theunissen
August 01 2023, 11:30 am | Comments 0

Thank You for Listening

I really admire those who not only pray and trust God but who hear His promptings and obey. To all those who hear God’s voice in your lives and obey, thank you for listening!

By: Veronica Nicholaides
August 01 2023, 11:03 am | Comments 0

Faith in Adversity

We praise God for her willpower and for allowing the Holy Spirit to show her the right way. But we must continue to pray for our sister. Because the sense of community is deeply rooted in this culture, she is trying to gather her whole family to talk with them about her faith and why she will not abandon the Way. We hope and pray to God that the family may have a favorable response to her and her faith and that she, in turn, will be a witness to her loved ones.

By: Cris Jara
August 01 2023, 10:56 am | Comments 0

Flight Home

Please join us in taking the gospel to the far edges of the world so we can invite many more to join us on our trip Home. We will be departing soon!

By: Veronica Nicholaides
July 01 2023, 11:27 am | Comments 0

Bad for Good

We often do not understand difficult or even tragic situations that occur in our lives. But it is always good to remember that, amid pain and trouble, we have a God working through the situation, and the blessing He will give us will surpass the suffering we experience.

By: Cristian & Solange Jara
July 01 2023, 11:09 am | Comments 0

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