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

From Satan to God; From Fear to Freedom.

There is no greater joy than seeing how a person is freed from Satan and begins to live happily, without any fear, knowing that God protects and blesses each of his steps (Psalm 27:1).

By: Cris Jara
June 01 2023, 3:49 pm | Comments 0

The Four-Day Miracle Garden

With a bit of planning and hard work using only shovels, the local Pnong farmers taught us that they could start a large garden on the school property so the entire community could enjoy the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and our school could save some money in its budget.

By: Rene Theunissen
June 01 2023, 3:47 pm | Comments 0

Live or Die for the Lord

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.

By: Cristian Jara
May 01 2023, 10:22 am | Comments 0

One Picture

God is in control of absolutely everything. I can only do my best and trust Him to do the rest.

By: Rene Theunissen
May 01 2023, 9:30 am | Comments 0

Servants of God

Nothing is as amazing as seeing someone you have worked with surrender their life to serve our Heavenly Father.

By: Amy Reyes
April 01 2023, 2:44 pm | Comments 0

Unlikely Lights

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.

By: Rene Theunissen
April 01 2023, 2:35 pm | Comments 0

Share in the Joy

I want to share in that joy, those tears. Father, may I?

By: Jared Ratcliff
March 01 2023, 2:49 pm | Comments 0

Lessons Learned

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.

By: Amy Reyes
March 01 2023, 2:30 pm | Comments 0

Like a Mountain

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.

By: Yonathan Suarez
March 01 2023, 11:31 am | Comments 0

Surrounded By God’s Blessings

For the first time, the Pnong people of our village performed the baptismal program themselves in their language and way.

By: Cris & Sol Jara
March 01 2023, 9:57 am | Comments 0

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