OVERVIEW: The people of Yemen have suffered greatly since the start of their civil war in March 2015, but the gospel has flourished greatly during this time. Yemeni Christians have become more proactive in their outreach efforts, though they still face extreme danger even for being identified as a Christian. As such, they must reach out in creative ways that are both bold and wise. Small numbers of Yemenis are being added to the body of Christ weekly, and there are many seekers as interest in Christian media grows. Most regions of the country now have at least one follower of Christ residing there.
BACKGROUND: Yemen, located along the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, is the poorest country in the Middle East. About one-third of its 23 million people are undernourished. The country has endured a civil war since 2011.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: About 99 percent of Yemenis are Muslim; about one-third are Shiites and the rest are Sunnis.
PERSECUTOR: Persecutors include the government, Islamic extremist groups, communities, tribes and families of Christian converts. Al-Qaida is prominent and active.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN YEMEN: Converting to Christianity from Islam is a crime punishable by death, and families consider it extremely shameful for a family member to become a Christian. Christian converts face harassment, the possibility of losing jobs and family relationships, and potentially death. Christians worship secretly in homes or in small groups outdoors.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles can be found in Yemen, but they are difficult to obtain. However, Yemenis can freely read the Bible online. In addition, digital copies can be downloaded to their smartphones or computers.
VOM WORK: VOM supports indigenous believers who reach out to their community and provides relief to some Christians who are suffering as a result of the war. We also support various forms of media that make God’s Word more accessible inside Yemen.