There are over 3.7 million Beja in East Africa. The Beja believe that they are descendants of Noah’s grandson Cush and usually refer to themselves by the land in which they are living in. Among Beja people, there are 5 main tribes or clans which the Beja belong to. The Beja are very conservative and typically only marry within their clan. The Beja are open to other clans but can seem aggressive to foreigners. They believe that all outsiders can be potential enemies. The men usually grow a large afro, in Beja culture, it is thought that the larger the bush of hair on a man’s head the manlier a man is. Camels play an important role in Beja culture, they are the basis for their economy. The Beja are devout Muslims and they began converting to Islam in the mid-1400s. Many of the Beja practice folk Islam, believing that spirits can become animals.
Engagement // What's Happening Now
In 1991, response to the gospel began among the Beja when a believer was baptized in a shallow river – the first Beja convert in centuries. Today, by a generous estimate, there may be 30 born-again believers among this large people group.
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
The Beja have successfully isolated themselves from any proclamation of the gospel. However, they have begun moving into settlements developed by the government. Some 50 percent of Beja have taken advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the amenities of schools, clinics and farming tools. These changes in lifestyle provide fertile soil in which to sow the gospel. Church planting efforts require creativity and Spirit-inspired strategy among this predominately Muslim people group.
Partnership // Move Beyond
Please take a few moments to pray for the following:
- Pray for God to raise up prayer teams that will break up the ground through worship and intercession on behalf of the Beja.
- Famine and drought have plagued much of East Africa, pray that the Lord sends agricultural and water initiatives to bring stability to the Beja.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Beja people toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Pray that God will raise up strong fellowships of believers among the Beja people.
*Photo and Info Source: Joshua Project