Khmer in Canada

Khmer
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People Name: Khmer
Country: Canada
10/40 Window: No
Population: 23,000
World Population: 16,283,100
Primary Language: Khmer
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.60 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Cambodian Diaspora is made up of those who left Cambodia starting in April 1975, when the government fell to the Khmer Rouge. Khmer began to flee the Killing Fields to find safety in refugee camps along the Thai border. This continued through the 1980s as the Vietnamese army invaded and occupied Cambodia. These displaced people sought acceptance as refugees in various countries. The United States, Australia, France, Canada and other countries became their new homes.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Cambodians have had difficulty adapting to their new countries. The suffering they experienced under the Khmer Rouge caused many to experience post-traumatic stress syndrome. Also, most Cambodian refugees had a low level of education and were farmers. Many were settled in urban areas where they could not use their agricultural experience. As a result, many overseas Cambodians live in poverty. Even among second generation Cambodians, many drop out of high school and few attend college, therefore, these problems are passed on from one generation to the next.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Khmer in the West have similar beliefs to those in Cambodia. They practice Theravada Buddhism mixed with animism and ancestor worship. When Cambodians arrived in the Thai refugee camps, many heard the gospel and a high percentage made professions of faith. This trend continued as they were sponsored by Christian churches in the West. Unfortunately, as they settled into their host countries many fell away. Over time, Buddhist temples were built in those countries which provide a place to practice their Khmer culture and traditional beliefs.
At the same time, Cambodian churches have had a significant influence. In the early 1990s, there were more Khmer believers in the West than in Cambodia. When a new Cambodian government was formed, many of these Christians played an important role in bringing the Gospel back to their homeland. Today, the overseas churches continue to send money and people to support the growing Christian movement in Cambodia.

What Are Their Needs?

Cambodians in the West need to adapt to their new countries. The second and third generations need better educational opportunities so that their communities can emerge from the poverty which has characterized their overseas experience. Most of all they need a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for the spiritual hunger it will take for Cambodians in Canada to seek and find the only savior.
Pray for Canadian Christians to reach out to the Cambodians until they know why Jesus died and rose again.
Pray for Cambodians who will disciple others to take Christ to others.

Text Source:   Joshua Project