Last week I (Joe) had the opportunity to visit some Cham villages about three hours by bike from where we live. It was a privilege to go with my neighbor Tony, who has worked with the Cham for several years.
When we first entered the obviously Muslim villages it touched my heart to see a big smile come across his face and hear him say with great joy and affection, “These are my people.”
As we were invited into their homes Tony was able to teach them stories from the Bible and tell them about how Jesus came to save us from sin. As we left we handed out DVDs of The Jesus Film in the Cham language. This is the first movie to ever be released in their native language.
A one day trip became almost two days. Hard rain on the way home at night, me missing a turn and breaking my bike chain made it that much more of an adventure. I so appreciate Tony's patience and willingness to include me on this trip. He is one of only a handful of missionaries to work with the Cham and learn their language - I have enormous respect for him.
The Cham are a facinating people group. Descendants from the Champa Kingdom which was in Southern Vietnam, their culture is unique folk Muslim - a mix of Islam, Buddhism and animism. They were disproportionately persecuted during the Khmer Rouge. Today about 400,000 Cham live in Cambodia. To learn more about the Cham see: http://www.khmerview.com/Cham-People.html .
Please pray for the Cham people. Their history is marked by oppression and persecution. Pray with us that they come to know Jesus Christ as their savior and experience the peace, love and freedom that only He can give.