Every Sunday, Paul Rmah Bral and a partner, along with other friendly men in pairs, travel around on motorbikes in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region introducing villagers to Catholic values.
Bral is a 60-year-old ethnic Jarai, part of a wider group known as Montagnards, who speak a Malayo-Polynesian language related to other tongues in the Asia-Pacific region spoken from Indonesia to far-away Fiji.
A French Catholic missionary made contact in the mid-1800s with the traditionally animist Jarai.
During the Vietnam War, many Jarai joined with clandes- tine American forces and later resettled in the United States.
Bral and other lay missionaries, known as giao phu, have for the past two decades been bringing more villagers into their fold in Kontum Diocese.
“It is the happiest thing in life to know that God creates and loves us, and to bring His love to our brothers and sisters,” said
Bral, a former Vietnamese language teacher who embraced Catholicism in 1995 and was baptized in 2000.
He and dozens of other villagers, including his wife and son, attended weekend catechism classes held at the Redemptoristrun Evangelization Centre.
Local communist authorities in the Central Highlands, which borders with Cambodia, pressured locals into withdrawing from their study sessions.