Introduction / History
The Tihama is the narrow western coastal region of Yemen on the Red Sea. It is made up of sand dunes and plains and is largely arid except for a few oases. Important urban centers of the region include AlHodeidah, Mocha, and Zabid. At one time the Tihama hosted an important trade route that ran from Asia to Africa. As a result, there is noticeable African influence.
What are their lives like?
Most of the Tihami people live on a day to day basis dependent on each day's wages to provide for the next day. The majority of the people are dependent on the agriculture and sea to provide their daily needs, and they often have scarce resources to properly feed themselves and their children. In addition to poverty, literacy is one of the problems in the Tihama. One out of every two people is illiterate. The education system in the urban centers of the country has been improving over the past few decades, but the standards are still far from acceptable. In some of the villages there is little more schooling than memorization of the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book.
The predominate culture in the Tihama centers around Islam, but sometimes tradition or cultural customs supersede Islamic law. One prevalent tradition in all of Yemen is qat, a mildly narcotic leaf that is chewed for hours at a time. Qat holds a strong grip on Yemeni culture, and its perceived social value of bringing people together does not outweigh its devastating impact on the people physically, economically, and socially. Hospitality and generosity are high values among these people, as well as the utmost priority of preserving honor in the family and community.
AlHodeidah is the largest city, where people from all over the country have come to the Tihama region in order to find work. Hodeidah and the few other city centers are easily accessible, but hundreds of villages that dot the Tihama are much more difficult to reach. There are no maps that locate all such villages, nor are there paved roads that connect them.
What are their needs?
Since cities are large accessible access points, we pray that families will be reached for Christ in the cities and later take the gospel back to other cities and villages to share the truth of salvation with their friends, relatives, and neighbors. Wide and broad sowing of the seed of God's Word is needed as well as immense prayer support in order for the gospel to take root and the church to expand among this people group. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Please join us in supporting kingdom growth among the Tihami people. Prayer is imperative!
* Pray that the people of the Tihama would embrace Prince of Peace, as a heart change is all that can bring lasting peace and hope to their troubled lives.
* Pray that the Tihama would be free of El Qaida operatives, such as those who escaped recently from a Hodeidah prison, and that they would have the means to secure their land.
* Pray that Tihamis forced out of their homes and living in camps would have both their physical and spiritual needs met.
* Pray that those disillusioned by all the problems in their country would search until they find the Truth that can set them free.