The Muslim nation of Yemen on the Saudi peninsula is one of the most impenetrable places on earth for Christian ministries. But despite war and famine, the Gospel is still reaching some of its 34 million people. Yemeni Christians are secretly working on Bible translations in ‘heart languages’ to reach more of them across multiple people groups.
Given the conflict and food insecurity racking the country and the sparsity of a local Church, creating that translation is proving to be a challenge. Mission Network News (MNN) reports that: “Between extremist religious groups and a strong sense of tribalism, many Christians can face banishment or death for simply proclaiming their love of Jesus Christ, let alone translating Scripture.”
A missionary from the Strategic Resource Group ministry who wants to only be known as Amy told MNN that believers face death if Muslims find out they follow Jesus. “There’s a huge stronghold there because of their belief system – the things that they think they know about God, who He is, and what they believe to be true. They’re so rooted in that. It’s not just what they believe, it’s part of their life and their culture. That’s why so few of Yemen’s Christians are able to share their stories with the rest of the world. There’s a significant risk to people’s lives if they share these stories, and if they tell the good things that are happening,” she explained.
MNN reports a Bible translation is still in the works. The believers working on the project put in full-time hours working on the localisation of the Scriptures as they work on the project while in hiding. Amy observes that: “God continues to draw Christians unto Himself. They are being encouraged by that and seeing the fruit of what God’s doing in their lives and in the lives of the people around them, which encourages them to continue on doing their work.”
“For example, while working on the translation, some of the believers have felt called to write their own worship songs. They’re not translating existing songs, but writing localised songs from scratch. Now in their heart language, it has a deeper meaning and impact on their lives, because they’re able to understand it in a more complete and deep way,” Amy said.
“Those of us who are aware of what’s happening and know what’s going on need to commit to prayer for the people that are doing the work for the people that God still wants to reach with His Word. Pray that God would continue to soften their hearts so that they’ll be prepared to hear the Word.”