Yemen is a country of 26 million people, where nearly 35% are estimated to be Shia Muslims and 65% estimated to be Sunni....but there are Christians in Yemen.  Making up approximately 0.08% of the population, in an area where tribal leaders and extremist groups have been known to punish and even kill those leaving Islam, Yemeni Christians need to keep their faith a secret.  

How radio is a life-line to listeners

Prior to the current hostilities between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition, Yemen was one of the world's poorest countries where food shortages, poor eduction and chronic malnutrition were prevalent.  The violent conflict has increased the hardships faced by both Muslims and Christians across the country; thousands are dead, millions of people have fled their homes, and nearly 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Broadcast into the country using short wave radio and produced in local dialect, Feba's partners provide listeners with spiritual encouragement and programmes that address social, health and well-being issues in Yemen from a Christian perspective.    

The programmes stimulate discussion about longstanding community issues, talk about the huge issues people face in the conflict and provide an example of church - a symbol of hope for Yemeni Christians and a facility for fellowship.

Listeners can tune in privately without fear for reprisal and also call into the station and interact with the programme - nearly 500 people called in each month last year - with many wishing to discuss spiritual topics.  

Increasingly people in Yemen are engaging online with a new openness to explore different ways of thinking

Smartphones

Even though electricity shortages reduce the access to mobile networks and the internet, people are using their smartphones to listen to online versions of the radio programmes whenever they can. Being online makes it easier for people to give direct feedback to the partners. In the early days people would use this ease of access to attack Christian beliefs, but increasingly people in Yemen are engaging online with a new openness to explore different ways of thinking.



Please pray....

Yemen is regularly featured as part of our prayer diary.  Join us in continuing to pray for the people of Yemen, the broadcasts of our partners, the peace process and an end to the hostilities.   



What are the signs that radio is helping enrich the life of the persecuted church?

Feba and our partners’ role in radio is part of an integral church ministry in Yemen; we are seeing a growth in the capacity of the church there to respond and deal flexibly with the current needs of local communities. Local believers are playing an active role in the relief efforts to help get food and medical supplies to where they are most needed. Feba has helped them access more technical items such as solar panels and fuel for generators, which are important to keep communication channels open. The project involves every element of our partners’ lives, and we are becoming immersed with them, their work and the communities they serve.

Our partners are in touch with one young woman, forced on three occasions to marry men twice her age; she fled Yemen, and has received post-trauma counselling. Today she is in touch with other Christians around her, and is a contributor to the programmes.  Some listeners have called in to ask questions about Jesus or have even started to follow Him.  Others simply listen in to this powerful medium to connect with others and receive encouragement in their faith.

The community of believers in Yemen cuts across tribal barriers. This community model for Christian church is now increasingly regarded as a ’spiritual jewel’ – and a hope for peace and reconciliation across the Arabian Peninsula.


For more information about our project providing radio for transformation in Yemen, read more in our Yemen project case study as part of our focus area on the Persecuted Church.


Published: 7th June 2016