Deep in Cambodian Tribes Country


Northeast of the town of Kratie lies a tribes area about half the size of Belgium. Its 35,000 people speak two dialects. There are roads of a sort that penetrate the entire district, and we felt greatly pressed to go among them.

Before the trip I had carefully prepared the truck, taking extra gasoline, water, a battery, a spare generator and fuel pump, plus a few extra tire tubes. A set of army tire chains cut down to fit proved useful. With my winch bolted to the front bumper and the house trailer hooked on the rear, we started off.

Over the course of two days we traveled 150 miles. It seemed like a thousand! As we climbed over the hill into O Raang, we saw a lovely wooded valley surrounded by rolling grassy hills. Soon we saw our schoolteacher friend, Pat So May, waving to us from a new schoolhouse he had just built. We know that the Lord has had His hand in the transfer of this friend from Kratie to O Raang. Because he knew us, we were accepted by all.

The next day we looked for a place to build a house and, later on, a chapel. We finally located a beautiful spot on a sheltered plateau, near a clear stream. We had just decided on this spot when the governor of Kratie Province, a three-star Cambodian general, and his staff arrived. They were astonished to see us so far interior, and we were as surprised to see them. We quickly took the opportunity to tell them of our intention to work in that area. The governor could not grant us permission verbally, but he promised to help me file a request.

On Sunday I walked two miles over a mountain to a village where I preached in Cambodian. Several ex-soldiers kindly interpreted for me. These people were deeply interested, especially the village chief, who was loath to let us go. We spent the entire morning there.

At the same time Mrs. Thompson held a service near the camp. Her idea originally was to speak to a dozen or so women who had come into the little settlement, but before she knew it, nearly all the people in the village were pressed in around her, eagerly listening to the Bible stories she was telling.

What an opportunity! How would you feel if half a hundred such tribespeople earnestly urged you to tell them more and begged you to come with them to teach them the way? If you can imagine the tug upon your heart this would bring, you can know how we feel about going to O Raang.

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