Missions Wednesday: Yemen

Yemen has been in the news in recent days over the possibility that recovered packages intended to be used for terrorist plots originated in Yemen. It’s really easy to allow situations such as these to breed hatred and dismay for the people of a particular country. Ignorance only fuels that fire. The less we know about a people, often the easier it is to hate them. They don’t have faces. They are trying to kill our people. But if we put faces, or better yet, souls to this situation then hatred has an opportunity to dissolve. After all, it’s not the people of Yemen who are trying to cause terror. It’s a group of people in Yemen. And they kill because they don’t know Jesus. We do. What have we to lose by loving them and knowing a little bit more about them?

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Over the last 40 years they have been deeply affected by wars. This has only contributed to their poverty. They are also one of the least evangelized countries in the world. There are over 18 million people in Yemen, and 99.94% of them are followers of Islam. This leaves only .06% as “other” (.05% Christian, .01% Jewish). The official government religion is Islam and the legal system follows Shari’a Law. To become a Christian is illegal, and non-Muslims are prohibited from evangelizing. For a Yemeni believer, persecution is inevitable, and the societal pressures faced upon conversion are often overwhelming.

The primary economic product in rural areas is the drug called qat. This makes up 40% of the national economy and has tremendous impact on the productivity and health of the population. Nearly half of all children in Yemen are malnourished, largely due to the high usage of qat and poverty.

Interesting fact: The literacy rate in Yemen is 43% (and only 23% for women). This is staggering. Only 43% of the people (not including women) can read which has tremendous implications for their ability to read God’s word.

Ways to pray:
  1. Pray for believers in Yemen. It is illegal to witness, and persecution is a given for Yemeni Christians. Pray that they will have courage to endure.
  2. Pray for the least reached. There are many rural areas that have never heard the name of Jesus.
  3. Pray that God would send missionaries to Yemen and would protect them when they go.