Khmer in Germany

Khmer
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2021
Kevin Morris, OMF International  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Khmer
Country: Germany
10/40 Window: No
Population: 13,000
World Population: 15,899,800
Primary Language: Khmer
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 4.00 %
Evangelicals: 2.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
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.

Where Are they Located?

These displaced people sought acceptance as refugees in various countries. The United States, Australia, France and other countries became their new homes.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Khmer Cambodians came in the 1980s to what was once East Germany, a communist country. Surprisingly, some of these Cambodians have a level of nostalgia for living in a communist land.

The Khmer Cambodians are overshadowed by the Vietnamese and Chinese minorities in Germany. With their small numbers, they are trying to maintain some form of solidarity and unity.

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 actually 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 families of believers loving and serving others to grow reproducing churches among the Khmer people in Germany.
* Pray for a chain reaction of families reaching Khmer families that results in thousands of new believers who share their faith with others.
* Pray for grace and truth expanding into the entire Khmer communities as all believers learn to love others.
* Pray that churches and believers will bless their entire people group in such a way that God’s love will change the Khmer people like yeast changes dough.

Text Source:   Keith Carey