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Ratanakiri : The 12 June issue of The Phnom Penh Post carried a story about the positive changes coming to a Jarai indigenous minority living in the village of Somkul after abandoning their traditional animism in favor of faith in Christ.

While the point of the article was clearly not envisioned to be pro-Christian, it did honestly portray the positive influences being brought to the Jarai people by Christianity. This endangered ethnic minority is struggling to survive the ravages to their culture that have accompanied he rapid influx of “lowlanders” into their previously isolated area. The article explored the reasons why so many people in the village had abandoned their old religion and turned to Christianity. The Phnom Penh Post article interviewed Christian and Missionary Alliance field director David Manfred and accurately printed his discerning understanding of the critical issues facing the Jarai and the positive role the church is playing in helping them deal with these changes.

Phnom Penh Post reporters May Titthara and David Boyle explored the financial costs to the Jarai of continuing to offer sacrifices required under their animist practices to ward off “evil spirits” and spells. According to May and Boyle, many simply found it cheaper to convert to Christianity and leave behind the belief in such “evil spirits” and spells.

According to David Manfred, the reason the Jarai are trusting in Christ is much deeper than just economic. The real reason is that they have found Jesus to be much stronger than the evil spirits and they have found great freedom from fear through trusting Christ.

As Christians we know The Lord uses both good and bad forces, institutions, and people to bring about his will. The scripture is full of such examples. While we are not accustomed to reading good secular press reports about the church, this recent Phnom Penh Post article clearly shows such articles are not impossible. We should also learn from this that as Christians, we need to place strong emphasis in developing our own news media and news reporters. We are surrounded by good news. We should report it. Please send your Christian news stories to Mr. David Lon, at the Harvest News (MK2021 Newsletter).

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