Radios for the Phnong
When a team from FEBCambodia visited Mondulkiri province in May, they found a thriving church there among the Phnong, one of Cambodia’s hill tribes. Many of them are keen listeners to FEBC’s short wave service, and some are even able to hear Family FM. At a meeting of church leaders, the FEBC team gave out 500 radios to distribute among the Phnong people.
Way back in the 1950s, members of the Phnong hill tribe asked a missionary agency to send missionaries to visit them. They had heard about Jesus from people in neighbouring Vietnam. But no-one was available to go!
It wasn’t till the mid-70s that some Phnong people heard the Gospel in Vietnam, where they had fled to escape the bombs that were strafing their own land in the widening regional conflict. Later those Phnong believers returned to Cambodia, and shared the Gospel with their own people. Today, it is estimated that up to 10% of the Phnong are Christian believers.
In a small village called Poo Treng, the FEBC team met with local church leaders. They told us that some in their congregations had come to faith as a result of hearing FEBC broadcasts. They spoke warmly of the short-wave service Voice of Love and we learned that some even manage to pick up Family FM – about 300Km away - by rigging up antennas on the roofs of their houses.
We learned that the animistic beliefs of the Phnong often provide the spur for them to commit their lives to Jesus. Animists believe that their wellbeing depends on successfully appeasing spirits. But some are too poor to give the requisite offerings; and so they turn to Jesus for protection.