Praying Through the Window III -- October, 1997

The Unreached Peoples

Day 4

Khmer Homeland: Cambodia
Religion: Buddhism, Atheism

Imagine yourself a Khmer teenager in Cambodia. The ravages of war, genocide, and poverty have decimated the older generations, so you and your peers constitute over half of the country's population. Communist ideas still linger in the school system, so you have learned little about God or Cambodia's national religion, Buddhism. In the early 1990's, some degree of democracy and freedom were restored and brought new hope to your country. However, freedom has opened the door to a growing drug trade. Cambodia has become a distribution hub for heroin and opium. Another growing scourge is child prostitution. The alarming spread of disease among prostitutes fuels the demand for more prostitutes. Young girls are often kidnapped, sold, and ultimately enslaved into the flesh trade. But, there is hope. Since Communism collapsed, freedom of religion has been restored. The open practice of Buddhism has returned and interest in religion is growing.

God, shine the light of the gospel in the spiritual shadows of the Khmer culture. Replace fear associated with ubiquitous spirit shrines and the hatred from 20 years of war with love.

Bouyei Homeland: China, Burma
Religion: Animism

Visiting a Bouyei home, you see spells written on thin paper fluttering over the windows. Above the door, a mirror hangs to reflect demons away. Across the room stand five altars to the gods of sky, earth, ancestor, country, and education. With a population between two and three million, the Bouyei are one of China's largest minorities. The largest concentration lives in the Yunnan plateau of south west China. Most are farmers and most have never even heard of Jesus.

Lord of the harvest, mobilize the growing church among the neighboring Hmong people to reach out cross-culturally to the unreached Bouyei.

Lao Homeland: Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
Religion: Buddhism, Animism

A small wooden raft laden with candles is gently slipped into the Mekong River. It hesitates, then catches the current and joins many similar rafts bobbing in the murky water. This scapegoat raft carries the year's guilt and trouble as it floats away. Unlike other Asian communist countries, Laos remains devoted to Buddhism. In Laos, unlike Vietnam and China, monks are seen everywhere. The Lao blend their Buddhism with Animism, practicing sorcery and protecting themselves from evil spirits. They seek merit through good behavior, ritual sacrifices, reverence for religious images, and offerings to the monks. Less than one percent of the Lao in Laos are evangelical Christians.

Lamb of God, give Lao believers and missionaries spiritual wisdom and cultural insight to use analogies like the "scapegoat raft" to communicate the gospel to the Lao.

Li Homeland: China
Religion: Animism

Off the southern coast of China lies the large island of Hainan, home to more than one million Li people. Generations of Chinese have viewed Hainan as backward and undesirable. When former Chinese prime minister Li Deyu was exiled to Hainan during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), he described it as "the gate to hell." In the last decade, however, local officials have worked to turn the island into an exotic resort destination. Historically, the Li people practiced Animism, turning to shamans, witches, and animal sacrifice. Recently, the Li have abandoned traditional culture and embraced modern living. Traditional costumes are put away except for tourist performances and funeral ceremonies. There are a few small Li churches, but most Li have never heard anything about Jesus Christ.

Lord, burden believing Chinese tourists to Hainan with a vision to return and evangelize the Li.

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9/3/97