Introduction / History The precise origin of the Cham is unknown, but they are the survivors of the Champa Kingdom, which flourished from A.D. 2 until A.D. 1471. When the Vietnamese invaded their kingdom, most aristocrats fled to Cambodia; whereas, the poor peasants remained in Vietnam. Evidence still remains of this once flourishing civilization; grandiose temples and sanctuaries, irrigation systems, woven cloth, sculpture, and jewelry.
The Western Cham are a mixture of Cham and Malay, with whom they traded during the time of their powerful kingdom.
Where are they located? The Cham people live mainly in Cambodia and Vietnam, but smaller numbers have strayed to Thailand and Malaysia.
What are their lives like? Some Western Cham people who live in Malaysia were sent there in an agreement between the governments of Vietnam and Malaysia. Others use a tourist visa to enter Malaysia, then they find work. The Cham are cheap laborers for the duration of their labor contracts. They are expected to return to Vietnam after their contracts are up, but it doesn't always work this way. These Cham employees would often go to Thailand to work when their contacts are up in Malaysia, then return to Malaysia to work again later. This pattern is not unique to the Cham. Other peoples from Vietnam do this as well.
What are their beliefs? Hundreds of years ago the Cham were Hindu. The date that Islam was introduced is undetermined, but Malay influence is responsible for restoring and strengthening the Muslim practices of the Cham. Today the Western Cham people in Malaysia are solidly Sunni Muslim.
What are their needs? The Cham people have faced rejection and isolation. They need to experience the acceptance and love of the Savior.
Prayer Points * Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Western Cham in Malaysia.
* Pray for agencies to send missionaries to gossip the gospel to the Western Cham people in Malaysia.
* Ask the Lord to raise up an army of faithful intercessors who will pray for the Western Cham until they have a vibrant church.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Western Cham church to the glory of His name! * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.