Recently, I was asked to prepare reports on four of the people groups to whom we air programming from TWR’s Benin, West Africa transmitter. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, “There are 6,909 languages spoken in the world today, and 2,393 of those languages do not have a Bible translation.” So for TWR there is no doubt—proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ via radio as the Lord gives us means and opportunity!
We are reaching those who are listed as “least reached” peoples; who are oral learners (they prefer stories rather than the written word for passing on information), and who adhere primarily to the tenets of a major world religion. Also, they may have portions of the Bible in their language or no translation at all. Today let me introduce you to the Hausa people:
The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in all of West Africa. Thirty percent (more than 23 million) can be found in the north and northwest regions of Nigeria, an area known as “Hausaland.” More than six million Hausa live in Niger, Cameroon, Ghana, and Benin.
Seventy percent of the Hausa live in rural farm villages. Most of them are farmers, herdsman or traders. In fact, the Hausa have been heavily involved in long distance trading for many centuries.
A major world religion was introduced to the Hausa by traders in the 15th century. Those in urban areas are far more enmeshed in the practices of that religion than those in the rural areas. Less than two percent are followers of Christ. Some Hausa believers have experienced persecution for their faith. Thankfully, there is a complete Bible translation in the Hausa language.
Their family life and culture reflect their religious belief system. Marriages are arranged usually with close relatives. Polygamy is practiced. The lack of education and economic security affects these women whose literacy level is generally lower than that of the men.
The Hausa are listed as one of the “100 Largest Unreached People Groups” by the Joshua Project. Reaching across barriers of darkness, fear and hopelessness, TWR is engaging the Hausa people of West Africa with radio programs in their own heart language. TWR Benin airs programming that bring messages of hope and Truth such as Thru the Bible, Hope for Today, Lifeword, and Light of Life (Haskin Rai in the Hausa language), a chronological Bible teaching program.
According to Operation World (21st Century Edition), most West African nations have numerous unreached people groups without established indigenous evangelical churches. Radio, then, is one of the most relevant and cost-effective ways to share Christ’s love to people like the Hausa in this vast region. People are listening…and responding!
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