Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
The Khmu Ou are easily the largest ethnic minority group in Laos. More than 450,000 live across a widespread area in northern Laos, spanning eleven provinces. The largest concentrations are found in Houaphan, Phongsali and Vientiane provinces. Nearly all the Khmu people in Laos are Khmu Ou.
There are several clans among the Khmu Ou. Each clan is named after a bird, mammal or vegetable. Members of the clan are not allowed to kill, eat or harm the animal or vegetable that their clan represents.
In most locations the Khmu Ou live at the base of mountains and in forest valleys 400-800m (1,310-2,620 feet) above sea-level. They often live with or near the Hmong, Iu Mien, Lao and Pong.
For centuries the Khmu Ou have been animists, worshiping various deities. Some of their principal spirits include the 'King spirit', the spirit of the house, forest, rivers, rice, and livestock.
In addition, there are approximately 50,000 Khmu Ou Christians in Laos. Christians workers have seen the start of a people movement to Christ in recent years. More than half of the total number of professing Christians in the entire country of Laos are Khmu Ou.
When a Khmu Ou village was visited by missionaries in 1902, they excitedly reported, "Most of the men and women and even the children could speak Lao.... The people were all glad to see us. Those from the neighboring village of Katang Kala came with drum and gongs to welcome us. Chickens, eggs, and rice were given in abundance. They assured me if there was a resident missionary many whole villages of Kamu and the Lao as well would become converts."
In 1998, the following report indicated the great hunger many Khmu have to find God.... "We received a report from a Khmu pastor, who complained that he hadn't been able to get a good night's sleep for months. The pastor was the only person in the area who owned a VCR. The Khmu's hunger for spiritual truth is so great that many have been watching the Jesus film practically around the clock. They have no idea how to rewind the video and watch it again, so every few hours throughout the night the pastor hears, "Wake up! We want to watch it again!"
* Pray the flames of revival among the Khmu Ou would be flamed into a massive fire by the Holy Spirit.
* Ask God to strengthen and mature the many new Khmu Ou believers.
* Pray the Khmu Ou church would be used by God to take the Gospel to all peoples throughout Laos.