Yemen is a mountainous, arid desert country with a tumultuous history located on the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. It is by far the poorest state in the Middle East, suffering from an ongoing civil war
The year 2021 will mark a big milestone for Trans World Radio (TWR). We will celebrate 60 years of Arabic broadcasts to the Middle East where the local department has been continuously sharing the message of hope and redemption to the Arabic people.
TWR has been a key voice in bringing the Good News into closed areas across the Arab world by means of radio waves that have the ability to cross borders and reach people where they are. Recently, Yemen was added to the list of countries that are being reached by our local teams in the Middle East. Why Yemen?
Yemen is a mountainous, arid desert country with a tumultuous history located on the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. Some archeologists even suggest that present-day Yemen is the location of the biblical land of Sheba.
For centuries, it was known to be one of the most prosperous places in the Middle East. However, the fate of the country has since changed and for all of the oil riches that have benefitted the region in the 20th century, Yemen was left out.
Today, it is by far the poorest state in the Middle East, suffering from an ongoing civil war pitting various deeply rooted clans from the northern and southern regions against each other, which are in turn backed by regional Sunni and Shiite powers. As if this weren’t enough, a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions is adding to the turmoil. If there is a place on the Arabian Peninsula that defines hopelessness, it is Yemen.
However, true hope can still be found. Rays of light can still pierce the darkness. One of these rays of light is a program series called Hope for Yemen that is being produced, broadcast and distributed by the TWR Arabic Ministry department.
This program series – similar to the well-received series Hope for Syria for those affected by the Syrian crisis – aims to provide practical, psychological and spiritual help to the local population. It is a comprehensive media project focusing on Yemeni people speaking to them with their mother tongue dialect.
Various digital outlets such as online radio, mobile phone apps, social media platforms and SD cards, are being used in order to reach the audience, be it in their home areas or in refugee camps.
As the director for TWR Arabic Ministry shares, “the Hope for Yemen radio program is born to share with Yemenis, youth and adults, the message of hope that can give them a better future through their reconciliation with a sovereign God who can provide peace amidst storms.”
Content includes devotions with an emphasis on God’s love. It shares spiritual hope and comfort through Scripture and prayer. It also provides practical, helpful information focusing on providing the relief to their physical and emotional needs. Each program is hosted by a warm, friendly voice who is there to demonstrate understanding and compassion combined with uplifting instrumental, popular Christian songs.
[photo_footer]By using various media platforms, TWR shares true hope to seekers in Yemen, both in the cities and in rural settings. / Photo: Unsplash, CC0
Nevertheless, it is extremely challenging, even life-threatening for seekers to ask questions about Jesus Christ and for believers in Yemen to live out their Christian faith. When seeking to guide people on their journey of faith, a long-term view is needed. It takes time for the seeds of the gospel to grow. But when God stirs hearts, change happens!
For the most part, it is Yemeni men who contact us through social media and we receive the entire spectrum of responses and emotions. Some are offended hearing the name of Jesus, especially coming from a Yemeni voice. Others attach words and quotes from the Quran. However, we also receive questions by people that reveal that they are wholeheartedly seeking the truth.
One listener of Hope for Yemen, Mahmoud, sent all sorts of aggressive wordings against Christ and Christianity! Our follow-up contact explained in a caring and understanding way why we have a need of a savior, sharing about the broken relationship between God and Adam, how we all are sinners and requiring the grace of God. This respectful response resonated with Mahmoud who then replied:
“In God’s name, why has no one ever explained this to me like that! Why don’t we know in Yemen about this grace, hope and eternal life that we can have in Jesus? I’m eager to know more, I’m eager to really know the real God. I don’t want to be fooled again!
Another listener from Yemen named Jameel wrote to us:
“I am a new Christian; I’ve found your program Hope for Yemen and felt so happy listening to a Christian program in my own dialect! As in Yemen almost everyone is a Muslim. I’m not sure if there is anyone but me here. It feels lonely sometimes to not being able to declare my faith out loud and also difficult to grow, but with your programs I feel so much better and I’m starting to understand how to really live as a Christian. Thank you so much”.
We can therefore see that there is hope for the country of Yemen and its people. A living hope and spring of living water. For more information and examples of the Hope for Yemen programs (all in Arabic), please visit this website.
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