Christianity growing in Yemen despite persecution and famine -Open Doors

Christianity in Yemen is growing despite the ongoing persecution and famine in the country as more Muslims are embracing the Christian faith, according to an international charity's report.

A Houthi follower carries Yemen's national flag as he attends a rally marking one year of Saudi-led air strikes, in Yemen's capital Sanaa, March 26, 2016. | REUTERS / Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Since the ouster of Yemen's president in 2012, the Middle Eastern country has been plunged into political chaos and war which have driven away expatriate Christians. Most of the believers remaining in the country are converts from Islam, Open Doors USA said in a report.

The Islamic State and other Sunni militant groups have often targeted Christians and have taken advantage of Yemen's current state to gain territory. To make matters worse, more than half of the people there are in dire need of food. However, in spite of the deplorable situation, reports reflect that Christianity in the country is growing like never before.

In Open Doors' 2017 World Watch List, Yemen ranks ninth among the top 50 countries considered as the worst persecutors of Christians. The ranking is mainly attributed to the prevalence of Islamic extremism, and the organization estimates that only a few thousand believers are left in the country, Mission Network News notes.

"As far as the Christian population in Yemen, the Christians who are left there are primarily believers who have converted from Islam to Christianity, so they're even more harshly targeted as a result of their conversion," Kristin Wright of Open Doors USA said, according to Mission Network News. "So it's a very dire situation, not only between the air strikes and attacks, but also with increased need for humanitarian aid, and around 2.5 million people are displaced within Yemen as well. So this is a situation where people are on the move as a result of the conflict."

The hunger crisis in Yemen is reportedly one of the worst in the world right now. Based on Open Doors' estimates, around 80 percent of the country's population is in need of humanitarian aid, so they are doing everything they can to help the Christians there, said Wright.

In light of the difficulties in Yemen, Open Doors is asking for prayers so that the secret gatherings of the Christian converts would glorify God and that they would be able to minister to their countrymen who are victims of famine. The organization is also requesting prayers for believers who face threats and persecution from Islamic extremists groups.

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