The violent images of Yemen in the news are grim, and the situation on the ground confirms this. The tension has been there for years as many factional groups in Yemen have spread terror and fear. But currently the country of Yemen seems to have become a new Sunni-Shia battle ground with both Iran (Shia Islam) and Saudi Arabia (Wahhabi, a branch of Sunni Islam) openly moving into the situation in Yemen and fighting a proxy war on Yemeni territory.
However, even the Sunni-Shia divide seems to be too simplistic to give the full picture. There are a number of players in this battlefield: former President Saleh and his supporters, the Houthis; followers of current president Hadi, al-Qaeda factions, Southern separatists (Al Hirak), Ansar al-Sharia and other smaller groups. What does it do to the Yemenis and what does it do to the few Christian believers inside the country?
In some places, much of daily life has come to a standstill and it is a very hard time for Yemenis. In other places, daily life continues, but with fears about what the future will bring. Please pray for the people in Yemen that in the midst of this uncertainty, God will speak to them in visions and dreams, showing them that Jesus is the way, the truth and life.
Praise God that national and international believers have not been paralyzed by fear, but have remained active in gathering to encourage one another and reaching out to the community around them. Pray that they will receive the wisdom to deal with this situation and the support they need to prepare adequately for the future, not knowing how long the crisis will last.
Pray that they will remain active, taking advantage of open doors to share their hope in Jesus. Pray that the believers will continue to experience fellowship and meet each other and grow even more unified.
Although the body of believers in Yemen is not very large, this time of upheaval and war can be used by the Holy Spirit to strengthen indigenous believers in Yemen and bring growth, in such a way as the first apostles were inspired by God. Pray that through this disruptive time the seeds of the gospel will be scattered and pray that they will land in ready-made soil of those who don’t know Jesus yet. Pray that the believers are able to follow up with these seeds and show Christ’s love to the people around them.
Pray that the global church will stand with indigenous believers inside the country, who continue serving faithfully through the present crisis
Yemen is ranked No. 14 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.