Introduction / History The Bellawa or Beele are few in number and research suggests that they are nearing extinction. They are being absorbed into the much larger Hausa/Fulani culture. As that process continues, the Bellawa people will probably lose their own language of Beele and adopt folk Islam like the Hausa-Fulani. Gospel recordings are available in Beele but no other Christian resources.
Where are they located? The Bellawa people occupy a few villages in Bauchi State of west-central Nigeria.
What are their lives like? The Bellawa are an agricultural people live in villages surrounded by their farmlands. They grow maize, rice, yams, millet, beans, vegetables, and melons.
Most people groups in rural Nigeria like the Bellawa enjoy music, story telling 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 Bellawa people should find ways to communicate using these art forms.
What are their beliefs? The Bellawa people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. 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 Bellawa 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. The Beele live in fear of evil spirits, which inhabit the objects of nature.
What are their needs? The Bellawa 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 could bring electricity to charge cell phones and run appliances.
The Bellawa people need the spiritual blessings of the Risen Christ. He alone can provide the forgiveness of sins and a new life free from fear of evil spirits.
Prayer Points * Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Bellawa people for Jesus and that in God’s sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him.
* Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Bellawa families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
* Pray for the spiritual lives of the Bellawa people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
* Pray for the lives and culture of the Bellawa people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them. * 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.
References Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA)