Bibles for South East Asia

Bringing God’s Word to Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia

Will you partner with us to support the mission in these countries?

In Cambodia your gift will bring New Testaments and Scripture resources to vulnerable children. This will provide them with the moral compass and values they need to navigate their lives.

In Vietnam your gift will go towards providing five ethnic minorities with their own Bible. For the first time, they’ll be able to read the Word of God in their heart language.

In Malaysia, you’ll be helping to bring Bibles to refugees and migrants. This will give them hope and enable transformation to happen in their lives. 

Can you help bring Bibles to people in South East Asia by donating below?

Want to read the full appeal PDF publication? See it here.

Bringing Bibles to Cambodia’s children

The Bible Society of Cambodia is working to bring Bibles to the country’s vulnerable children.

It hopes that by providing New Testaments and children’s materials through churches and schools it will help to bring children the moral compass and the values they need in their lives.

This year, Bible Society aims to distribute: 1,500 New Testaments, 1,500 copies of the Book of Esther, 1,500 copies of a booklet called the Love of God, 6,000 Manga Bible comics, 1,500 copies of the book of Proverbs, 2,000 copies of a booklet called the Word of Wisdom, and 3,000 children’s portions.

It will run Bible quizzes in two churches, and it’s also planning to run an event on International Children’s Day on the 20th November 2020.

Will you make a gift to help support this important work of bringing God’s Word to vulnerable children in Cambodia?

Your gift could make such a difference bringing hope and transformation into their lives.

Click here to read more

Cambodia is a country whose people have suffered much. During the Vietnam War, the population endured carpet bombing campaigns by the Americans. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge came into power. Led by Pol Pot, the regime’s vision was to create a socialist agrarian republic modelled on that of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The Khmer Rouge forced the population to move from the cities to labour camps in the countryside where forced labour, physical abuse, malnutrition and disease killed many. As well, between 1975 and 1979, over 1.3 million Cambodians, including doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, journalists, Buddhists, Christians, children and babies were executed and buried in mass graves known as the Killing Fields.

Altogether, it’s estimated that between two to three million Cambodians died during this period, nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population of that time. In January 1979, the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia defeating the Khmer Rouge and ending the genocide.

Today, Cambodia is a country that is still recovering from this dark period in its history. One legacy is that forty seven percent of the population is now aged under 24 years old, and only 11 percent is aged over 55 years old. Christians are in a minority making up 3.4* percent of the population, many of whom are found among Cambodia’s ethnic minority groups who live in the Highlands.

For children, life is a struggle. Around 30 percent of children live in poverty. Ten percent don’t go to school. Many have to work to support their families doing dangerous and unsafe labouring work in salterns, factories or the construction industry.

Others may be lured into either the sex or the drug trades.

It’s in this environment that the Bible Society of Cambodia is working to bring Bibles to children.

*Joshua Project

Reaching Vietnam’s ethnic minorities with the Bible

Vietnam is a country of 98 million with around 14 percent of those belonging to one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, many of whom live in the Central Highlands. Vietnam’s ethnic minorities are marginalised, they live in poverty and they are often persecuted.

In Vietnam, the percentage of Christians is around eight percent and it’s amongst the ethnic minorities that Christianity is growing. For example, more than eight percent of the Bunong are Christian, along with ten percent of Jarai, 12 percent of Kraol and 80 percent of Rade. Yet, other groups such as the Tay and the Nung are still largely unreached for Christ.

Partnering with churches, who are enthusiastic about the distribution of Scriptures especially in this Covid-19 environment, the Bible Society of Vietnam is reaching out to five groups with 4,000 New Testaments in their heart languages to bring them the peace and hope of God’s Word. They are the Tay, the Nung, the Rade, the Mnong and Chinese.

Will you partner with us to help bring New Testaments to these ethnic minorities in their heart language? All funds raised will go directly
towards Scripture costs as the Bible Society of Vietnam is covering all the other expenses.

Click here to read more

THE TAY

The Tay people live in northern Vietnam. At the end of the 1700s, several ethnic Vietnamese groups united with groups of Thai-speaking people. Today, at 1.8 million they are Vietnam’s second largest ethnic group. They are subsistence farmers growing rice and using slash and burn techniques to grow other crops.

They retain traditional beliefs such as ancestor worship, shamanism and moism (a Chinese philosophy), with only one percent identifying as Christian. They also have low literacy rates at five percent.

However, the Tay New Testament was launched in 2017, and work is ongoing on the Old Testament.

“This book is so precious to us! I used Vietnamese Scripture to share the Gospel, but Tay people couldn’t understand, saying, ‘This is the God of the
foreigner…not for our people,’ says Hoang Trung Kin, one of the translators of the Tay New Testament.

For the 180,000 Tay who know Jesus as Lord, these New Testaments will be a real blessing as it will help to strengthen their faith during these challenging times.

THE NUNG

The Nung people live in north-eastern Vietnam and Guangxi, China, and they are closely related to the Tay people. Following the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 many Nung migrated from Guangxi to the Highlands. Today, they number around one million.

Like the Tay, the Nung are slash and burn farmers, who practise traditional beliefs, with one percent professing Christianity. After many years of work, the Nung New Testament was launched at the end of 2019 and is now available for distribution.

“Finally, I see the Word of God in Nung, printed and published. I can go to see my Lord in peace,” said Mrs Vy Thi Be, 71, one of the translators, who has been faithfully sharing the gospel with her community since 1975, when she was one of only a handful of Nung-speaking Christians. She has led hundreds of people to the Christian faith, but it has been a challenge with only a few parts of Scripture available in their language.

“I dream that God will raise up leaders in the Nung Christian community, who will preach in Nung,” said Mrs Be as she held the new Scripture in her hands. “I hope we will have the full Nung Bible as well,” she said.

The Mnong live in the Central Highlands in Mondulkiri province. They number around 39,000 and 75 percent of them profess Christianity.

Traditionally nomadic, slash and burn farmers, the Mnong have been forced into a sedentary lifestyle by the government. They need additional literacy and numeracy skills to cope with the onslaught of modern society.

They have had the New Testament in their language since 2016, but many Mnong are yet to receive a copy.

THE RADE

The Rade people number around 331,000 and live in the Central Highlands in the Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces. The script for the written form of the Mnong language was developed by an American missionary in the 1970s. Today, eighty percent of Rade profess Christianity. They have had the full Bible since 2015.

During the Vietnam War, the Rade became a part of the United States’ Montagnard allies. (‘Montagnard’ is a carryover from the days of the French Protectorate meaning “people of the mountain”.) After the fall of Saigon in 1975, thousands of Montagnard people fled to Cambodia as refugees. Around 2,000 Rade were resettled in North Dakota, America.

THE CHINESE

The Chinese (or Hoa) comprise around one percent of Vietnam’s population. Traditionally, the Chinese were small business owners in Saigon, modern-day Ho Chi Minh City. The percentage of Chinese in the population fell after 1975 as many Chinese fled Vietnam as the Vietnamese boat people following the fall of Saigon.

Testimony from a Mnong New Testament translator

“I feel like someone is speaking from deep inside my heart when I read this translation,” explains Loan, through her tears. “I can’t believe the peace I feel. God really cares for me and my people. His Word has really touched my heart.”

Loan took part in the community checking of the final draft of the Mnong New Testament but hadn’t realised what a huge effect it would have on her to read God’s Word in her language for the first time.

Her life has not been easy. Married to an abusive alcoholic she did not have much hope for the future, but her life began to change when she became a Christian ten years ago.

“I went to a Christmas service at a church with my son, but I didn’t really understand the message because the preaching was in Vietnamese,” she explains. “But when we went home my son retold the Christmas story to me in our language, Mnong. At that moment, I gave my life to Christ.”

Back then the only way that Loan was able to access Scripture was by reading the Vietnamese Bible. It has been a struggle, but she says that it has given her hope and helped to remove the bitterness within her. However, she is now very grateful to have the New Testament in her own language of Mnong.

Bibles for Refugees and migrants in Malaysia

Over the past two years, our generous partners have been supporting the mission in Malaysia providing Bibles for migrants and refugees.

Often, those migrants will return to their home countries, such as Vietnam, becoming pastors in their local churches.

Last year, Bible Society partnered with 12 mission schools, including El Shaddai Centre, Ruth, Hilla School for Refugees, Cheras Refugee Centre and the Malaysian International Korean School.

A significant mission focus was on refugee schools run by Korean ministers, who work with groups from Myanmar, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

These schools teach in English, and around 1,800 English-language Bibles were distributed to students.

Click here to read more

One student whose life was changed was Arfat from Myanmar. Arfat shared how reading the Bible gave him the love, joy and peace that God promises, something he hadn’t experienced before.

This year, there are many more like Arfat who are waiting to receive the Bible message, as Bible Society and its mission partners continue to reach out to migrants and refugees during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns in the country have brought a myriad of economic and social problems in their wake, including job losses and loss of income, with businesses, establishments and churches having to close their doors.

Along with this has come requests for Bibles in Malay, Tamil and Chinese, communities that Bible Society hasn’t worked with previously. Many of these people have lost their jobs and are now more open to receiving from churches, who are assisting them with food and other provisions.

Bible Society has been actively partnering with these churches. Recently, it provided more than 400 Bibles and children’s Scripture books in different languages enabling five or six libraries to be set up to serve these communities.

This follows on from work that it had previously done with refugee schools establishing libraries in five different schools. Among the books distributed were Bibles, Bible storybooks, devotionals, children’s Bibles and Christian comics.

During the pandemic Bible Society is continuing to reach out to people from many different communities. Will you partner with us to enable the distribution of Bibles to continue in Malaysia during these challenging times?

Can you help bring Bibles to South East Asia by donating below?

Your gift will support Bible Societies in Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia to continue to provide the Word of God to people in their local communities.


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