Way of Life
Christianity was once well represented in Yemen, but it was almost completely wiped out by the 7th Century Muslim conquest. According to tradition, Shem founded the city of Sana’a, and the Queen of Sheba reigned in Yemen when she sought wisdom from King Solomon some three millennia ago.
Yemen was once famous for frankincense, myrrh and coffee, but now growing the mild narcotic qat dominates agriculture. Over 80% of the adult population chew it, nearly 40% of the national economy is involved in qat farming, and 55% of all water usage is devoted to its production. An estimated 20 million working hours a day are spent chewing it.
A World Bank report published in 2000 estimated that the plant accounted for 30% of the country’s economy. In fact, the cultivation of qat in Yemen is so widespread that the irrigation of qat farms also accounts for 40% of the country’s water supply. This exacerbates access to water for food production.
Location: Yemen is located on the SouthWestern coast of the Saudi Arabian peninsula across the Red Sea from
Eritrea and Djibouti.
Language: Arabic, Regional languages
Professing Christian: 0.2%
Beliefs & Culture
Muslims, Christians, and Jews may have a shared history that stretches to the beginning of creation, but it diverges at the story of Abraham, Ismail, and Isaac. Christian and Jewish people believe Isaac is the son of promise, and Muslims believe it is Ismail.
Religion in Yemen is mostly made up of the two principal religious groups of Islam; Sunni and Shi’a. About 65% of the Muslim population is Sunni, and 30% is Shi’a. The Sunnis are predominantly in the south and southeast, and there are mixed communities in the larger cities.
Neither the constitution nor other laws protect freedom of religion in Yemen. Islam is the state religion, and that Shari’a (Islamic law) is the source of legislation. Muslims and followers of religious groups other than Islam are free to worship according to their beliefs, but the Government prohibits conversion from Islam and the proselytization of Muslims.
The Work So Far
The Yemeni mission is one of humanitarian aid. For more than three years, Yemen has been embroiled in a deadly conflict that has resulted in a minimum of 10,000 civilian deaths, additionally, at least 10,000 children have died from preventable causes such as diarrhea, cholera, malnutrition, and respiratory tract infections due to a chronic lack of medical supplies and staff.
However, in the shadows of this devastating conflict, Yemen’s indigenous, Christ-centered faith communities of believers of Muslim background have continued to grow at an accelerated rate. Leaders from these communities around the country are reporting an increase in spiritual openness in their communities and want to expand their current humanitarian distributions to target new communities in one southern, one northern, and one central area with emergency relief. Leaders also want to initiate sustained emergency relief activities in a region with a population of 3 million, and where they have only completed a few small pilot projects to date.
are reporting an increase
in spiritual openness in their
How to Pray for the Yemeni
Praise God that this Yemeni-led Church is making much of Christ while working to transform Yemen.
Pray for protection and perseverance for these indigenous Christian brothers and sisters working to better their homes in Christ’s name.
Pray for humanitarian aid and funding to the area to be managed by Christians and believers of Muslim background who want to make lives better in the name of Jesus.