• 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

On The Edge of Extinction

Living in a Pnong village gave me a firsthand view of what I finally decided was most important—people in need of their Savior.

By: Camilyn Clayville
October 01 2017, 12:45 pm | Comments 0

Back In Cambodia!

Once again, God has answered your prayers mightily!

By: Daniel Greenfield
September 01 2017, 5:22 am | Comments 0

Returning to Cambodia

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to share Jesus with the Pnong people. We are excited to be back.

By: Caa Greenfield
August 01 2017, 10:15 am | Comments 0

God Is Still At Work

Kuis and Rien told me they wanted to become Christians, but the village elders would not permit it.

By: Cara Greenfield
June 01 2017, 5:55 am | Comments 1

The Missing Bag

I knew God had big plans for this trip. I was excited to see how He was going to work.

By: Cara Greenfield
April 01 2017, 12:49 pm | Comments 0

From Discouragement to Excitement

God has blessed me here in Cambodia, teaching me to adapt to challenges and overcome my fears in His strength.

By: Vannida Kim
March 01 2017, 10:55 am | Comments 0


Even in the face of ambivalence and sorrow, one thing remains.

By: Conan Lizzi
March 01 2017, 9:05 am | Comments 0


“He’s cheating!” said a girl, pointing at one of the boys.

By: Anthony Nelson
March 01 2017, 5:09 am | Comments 1

Catch the Spark

Will you catch the spark like these enthusiastic kindergarteners and 4th, 5th and 6th graders?

By: Cara Greenfield
February 01 2017, 11:05 am | Comments 0

My Fight With Cancer

Please continue to pray for my health and for the rest of our team on the Pnong Project.

By: Daniel Greenfield
January 01 2017, 11:15 am | Comments 0

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