(Voice of the Persecuted) Southern Yemeni Arabs, the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis
WHO ARE SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS?
Roughly 9 million Southern Yemeni Arabs speak Ta’izzi-Adeni Arabic, a combination of two regional dialects. Yemeni culture, like much of the Arabian Peninsula, is tribal. There is a definite social hierarchy, often distinguishable by dress, from the wealthy and powerful down to the underprivileged. The symbol of male honor is a curved dagger, the janbiyyah.
Most Southern Yemeni Arabs are Muslim, including Zaydis, a Shia sect of Islam known for its warrior traditions. Others are Sunni Muslims who follow the Shafi’i school of Islamic law.
Yemen’s strategic location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea has been both a blessing and a curse. Centuries ago, it was a fertile and prosperous land, benefitting from ancient trade routes and in control of the market for valuable commodities. But as new global trade routes grew, Yemen’s prosperity shrank. Though just miles from some of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, Yemen is now the poorest country in the region.
WHAT ARE SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS’ GREATEST STRUGGLES?
A complicated, catastrophic civil war now rages in Yemen. It began in 2011 when the longtime, Saudi-backed, authoritarian president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in the wave of the “Arab Spring.” The upheaval has grown into a sectarian Sunni-Shia clash and proxy war between world powers (Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, and Iran, among others). The powers continue to fight over the control of resources and the balance of power in the Middle East. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State also contribute to the terror and instability of the country.
As in all conflict, the most vulnerable suffer the greatest. Since 2015, civilian targets have been regularly bombed, killing thousands and displacing millions. Their currency is collapsing. Dengue fever and cholera are reaching epidemic proportions because of a lack of clean water. Farmers use what’s available, including wastewater, to irrigate their small vegetable plots, and the sickness is spreading. Corruption and mismanagement prevents aid from reaching those who need it most. Children are starving to death in what the UN calls “the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.”
WHAT IS GOD DOING AMONG SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS?
While most people live in rural areas, they have smart phones and internet access. Resources in the southern dialect include the JESUS Film, The Prophets’ Story, and other radio and internet resources that have been very fruitful. If a southerner hears something evangelistic in a northern dialect, it creates a barrier to belief. If they hear it in Lebanese or Egyptian Arabic, Christianity is considered foreign. With resources in Yemeni dialects, people see that it’s possible for Yemenis to follow Jesus.
Most believers, a tiny fraction of the country’s total population, live in southern areas. Life in Yemen is difficult for everyone, but Christians have always faced added challenges. Believers in the south have learned how to live out and share their faith in a way that is leading family members and friends to faith. In spite of the devastation of war, the number coming to faith is increasing each year. One report notes that even those who come from very different tribes and backgrounds meet together in a spirit of unity and have a vision to help others grow spiritually.
- 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.
We continue to pray for the persecuted:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, both held captive by the Boko Haram.
- For Pastor Wanh Yi from China, who has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for sharing boldly the love of God.
- For Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.
- For Pakistani Christians and other minorities who are facing discrimination and persecution during the coronavirus crisis. Muslims are denying Christians relief food packages because of their faith in Christ.
“Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!
If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it. Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.” – Blaine Scogin, Founder of Persecution Watch and former Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted.
As Blaine Scogin did each year, the team will continue to host nightly calls during Ramadan. We will be following along with the Prayercast Team’s platform in praying for Muslims for the next 30 days, which began on April 24. Please sign up here to receive the daily video and prayer points from Prayercast which we will cover on the nightly prayer conference calls. If you have yet to do so, it’s not to late. Dear brothers and sisters, we challenge you to join us on the conference call to pray with us during these 30 nights of prayer for the persecuted, the harvest, and for Muslims to come out of the dark, receive the truth and follow Jesus.
Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
Nightly call schedule through Ramadan
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.