A Some of the Seed Fell … in Yemen
One of the metaphors that we use to describe our websites is the parable of the Sower. Jesus describes a farmer who sets out to sow seed in a field. He broadcasts the seed in what seems to be a broad and indiscriminate manner. The seed falls on many kinds of soil, with varying effect. However, some seed falls on good ground and produces a harvest. The seed in this story, according to Jesus, is the word of God.
At Clear and Simple Media, we manage three websites. The first (this one) communicates what we are doing as a ministry. Its readers are primarily people with ministry interests, some who are engaged in ministry overseas, and many who have a particular stake in what we are doing. Our two other sites are what we refer to as “delivery sites.” One site, A SIMPLE WORD, presents written material in English using a limited vocabulary and simple grammar. Anyone with one year of English will find this site accessible. The stated goal is to “help people read the Bible and help them understand what they read.”
The second site, HEAR A STORY, targets oral learners and is populated with audio files of Bible stories that take a listener from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the New Beginning in Revelation. This year (2019), we will be adding more stories and an audio blog that helps people engage with the stories in a more profound way. Again, we produce all of the material on this site in that same simplified English style. We monitor both of these sites to watch the traffic patterns and see who is visiting, where they are from, and what they are interested in when they visit. We have had traffic over the past 30 days from every part of the globe, but over seven days last week, we had visitors from a country we had never seen on our sites before – Yemen.
Since 2011, the country of Yemen has been in the midst of a political crisis which turned into a full-blown civil war five years ago. The war has killed more than 16,000 people and brought distress and starvation to millions.
Fighting began in 2014 when the Houthi Shia Muslim rebel movement seized control of northern Saada province and neighbouring areas. The Houthis went on to take the capital Sanaa, forcing the country’s President into exile abroad.
The conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states began air strikes against the Houthis. Two weeks ago, the United Nations brokered a cease-fire in Yemen and, albeit tenuous, seems to be holding for the moment. The day the ceasefire was to begin, our A Simple Word site registered its first visit from Yemen, with nine other distinct IP addresses from the country over the next seven days. According to the mission publications Operation World and the Joshua Project, Yemen is 99.92% Muslim.
We have no idea who these visitors are, nor what this exposure to the “seed” will produce. But we trust the One who does know. We pray that He will cause that word to settle deep into the minds of those who “heard” and transform their hearts.
In the meantime, we keep on sowing.