If you’re looking for unreached people groups – or, “UPGs” as they’re called in the missions community – start your search in Yemen. “Generally, the indicating factor of when a people group is considered ‘reached’ or ‘unreached’ is whether they are at least two-percent Christian,” says Nathaniel*, a Christian worker focused on Yemen.
“In the case of Yemen’s people groups, they’re all less than two-percent, so they would all be considered unreached.”
While the exact number of UPGs differs by source, Nathaniel says Yemen holds at least seven unreached people groups. Although all Yemenis desperately need your prayers, Christian workers are currently encouraging a strategic prayer focus for five of Yemen’s seven UPGs: northern Yemeni Arabs, southern Yemeni Arabs, the Tihama, Akhdam, and Hadhrami.
Yemen: an Islamic stronghold
Yemeni believers face some of the highest persecution rates in the world, Open Doors USA reports. The vast majority of Yemenis are considered Muslim and leaving Islam can be punishable by death. If secret believers are found out and don’t return to Islam, they face threats on all sides: family members, authorities, radical groups, and their tribal community.
As described here, decades of instability in Yemen have led to one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. Assisted by the chaos of Yemen’s ongoing war, Islamic militant groups have become more influential– leading to cases where Christians have been abducted and killed. COVID-19 adds yet another layer of calamity; many believe the current infection rates to be much higher than what’s recorded.
Reaching Yemenis for Christ is challenging, to say the least. “It’s always been difficult,” Nathaniel says. “Yemen’s always been a very restricted country; very, very conservative Islam. However, I would say the state of the country today is such that [it] makes it even more difficult.”
Nonetheless, “difficult” is not impossible. God’s Spirit is moving, and the tiny Yemeni Church is growing.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray that all unreached people groups across Yemen would have access to the truth, the life, the hope, and the joy that are only available through Jesus Christ.