Introduction / History
According to the 1995 census, 8,013 Jeh people live in southern Laos, in the Dakchung District of Xekong Province and the adjoining Sanxai District of Attapu Province.
Approximately 15,000 Jeh live in central Vietnam, where they are part of the official Gie (Jeh) Trieng ethnic group.
Young Jeh girls prefer to wear their hair down to their shoulders. When they are married they plait it into a knot. This is a visible social sign of a woman's marital status.
Jeh houses are built on stilts. Their roofs are constructed in such a way that they resemble tortoise shells reaching almost to the ground. The houses are arranged in a circular pattern radiating out from the rong - a community meeting house.
In the past there was great hostility and warfare between the various Jeh tribes and also with other ethnic groups in the region. Vendettas and revenge killings are still sometimes performed. Until a few years ago strangers were sometimes captured and sacrificed to evil spirits by the Jeh.
Jeh boys are allowed to engage in sexual relations with girls from about the age of 10. Most Jeh are married by 15 or 16. At the wedding ceremony, the young woman must have at least 100 logs of firewood prepared as a gift to the groom's family. This is a traditional sign to show that the bride is a hard worker.
A Jeh woman must give birth in a hut that has been built by her husband in the forest. Ten days after the birth a great feast is held to celebrate.
Most Jeh are animists. They believe the soul of each person is located inside his or her ears. After death the spirit transforms itself into a bird and flies away to be with their ancestors. The animistic Jeh revere the water buffalo so much that it borders on worship.
Because of the dedicated work of foreign missionaries in Vietnam prior to 1975, about one-third of Jeh in that country claim to be Christians today. About 300 Jeh in Laos have put their trust in Christ.
Jeh Bible portions, Gospel radio broad-casts and Gospel recordings in three Jeh dialects are available.
* Ask God to strengthen and enlarge the Jeh church in Laos, that many more would come to know Him.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Jeh.
* In prayer, bind the powerful demonic spirits that have enslaved the Jeh for centuries.
|Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted © Used with permission|