Cham, Eastern in United States

Cham, Eastern
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Cham, Eastern
Country: United States
10/40 Window: No
Population: 900
World Population: 135,900
Primary Language: Cham, Eastern
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.50 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Cham
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Eastern Cham people are a Malayo-Polynesian ethnic group, one of two branches of the Cham minority group in Vietnam and Cambodia. As one of the most ancient ethnic groups in Southeast Asia, the Eastern Cham people have a very deep and interesting history.

They are now overrun with poverty and persecution, but at one time the Eastern Cham people had a powerful kingdom in Southeast Asia. The ancient Eastern Cham people were famous for their seafaring, agricultural and building skills for temples.

Both Cham groups have had serious difficulties with being persecuted by nation states, so they try to remain unknown. Most likely they are blending in with other ethnic groups like the Vietnamese, the Cambodians or the Indians. There is no information about where the Eastern Cham live in the US.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Because the Eastern and the Western Cham peoples have different religions, they are unlikely to have much social contact. Since they are Hindu, the Eastern Cham are likely to relate to South Asians in the US.

They have been in the US for decades, so they are mostly acculturated by now. However, they have retained their ancient Hindu religious beliefs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of the Eastern Cham are Hindu. Hinduism was brought to them hundreds of years ago when a Hindu kingdom controlled much of SE Asia. Many follow Brahmanism, a sect of Hinduism. Brahmanism is practiced in the home, in temples, and at sacred festivals. The Eastern Cham are also highly influenced by traditional ancestor worship and animism. For example, they are known to dedicate their babies to the spirits at the local Hindu temples.

Their religious beliefs contribute to their history and identity as a people group. This makes it difficult for Cham individuals to embrace Christianity, as doing so would result in expulsion from the community.

What Are Their Needs?

The Cham people have been in the US for decades, so the window of opportunity to reach them when they are unsettled and spiritually open is over. Yet believers needs to befriend them and introduce them to Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Eastern Cham to be open to hearing the gospel and let go of their traditions that hold them to idol worship, animism and other religions.
Pray for Vietnamese Christ followers to see their opportunity to evangelize to the Eastern Cham people in the US.
Pray for God to raise up Cham believers who will begin a disciple making movement in the US.

Text Source:   Joshua Project