Introduction / History The Deno or Denawa are a group of people who live in rural northeastern Nigeria. They are rapidly assimilating with the Hausa-Fulani culture. As that process continues, the Deno people will probably lose their own language and culture and adopt folk Islam like the Hausa-Fulani unless the Lord intervenes. Deno is an endangered language as young people prefer to speak the Hausa and English languages they learn in school. Many adult Deno are unable to read and write. Only gospel recordings are available in the Deno language.
Where are they located? The Deno people are a relatively small group of people and are found in Darazo LGA of Bauchi State in northeastern Nigeria.
What are their lives like? The Deno are an agricultural people who live in villages surrounded by the land they farm. They grow beans, rice, yams, melons, maize, and vegetables for their own needs. Palm oil, peanuts and kola nuts are cash crops, which provide the Deno with funds they need to buy things like cell phones, tools and farm equipment. Families raise cattle and goats for milk, meat and hides.
Most people groups in rural Nigeria like the Deno enjoy music, storytelling and dance as a form of entertainment and communication. These art forms are very meaningful in rural Nigeria. Those who want to take the gospel to the Deno people should find ways to communicate using these art forms.
What are their beliefs? The Deno people are a mixture of Sunni Muslims and animists. Their Islam is heavily influenced by folk religion. As Muslims they believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, revealed through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
In most of the Muslim world, peoples like the Deno depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them deal with spiritual forces.
What are their needs? The Deno people need adequate rain for their crops and their livestock so they can live lives free of want and poverty. They need modern medical care and good schools that will help the next generation to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Solar panels can bring electricity to charge cell phones and run appliances.
Most of all, the Deno need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and bring them eternal life.
Prayer Points * Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Deno people teachable and understanding hearts.
* Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Deno families into a rich experience of God’s blessing.
* Pray for the Deno culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
* Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple-making movement among the Deno people.
* Pray for Deno families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness through Christ alone, and to understand the adequacy of Christ’s work on the cross. * Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA)