A Mighty Door to Reach Tanzania’s Yao People

    In a small village within Tunduru district in Tanzania, the lives of five Yao people have been changed forever. The world may not have heard of Mbatamila village or know these five people personally. But God knows each one by name, and now they are written in His book of life.

    Through Litala FM’s gospel broadcasts, they have received Jesus as their Saviour and been recently water baptised.

    A Yao in Tunduru district, Tanzania being baptised.

    The Yao people are an unreached people group. They number 3,653,600** across Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Each matriarchal community typically numbers less than 100. The subsistence farmers and fishermen live in houses with thatched roofs, often with no access to electricity or direct water supply. Their simple lifestyles give no hint of their affluent past as coastal traders with Arab merchants.

    One door closed, another opened
    When Yao chiefs closed the door to Christianity in favour of their Arab trading partners’ religion, the people followed suit. Today, most still practise a mix of Islam and animism (witchcraft and ancestor worship).

    But God is re-opening the door to the Yao people in the Tunduru district in Tanzania. And it is no less mighty.

    The Sultan of the Tunduru District in southern Tanzania (bordering Mozambique) has welcomed Litala FM, FEBC’s partner in Malawi in his area.

    Litala FM Director Amos with a Tunduru resident from the Yao people group.

    “I thank God that the door is open for the Gospel to be proclaimed in my area and at the same time listening to shortwave radio. I am enjoying learning the Word of God through media.

    “Many people were afraid to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to us Yao Muslims. Your coming will transform the area with the audio Bibles as well as radio.” The Sultan has asked the team to establish churches in his area.

    Open hearts
    With about a quarter of the Yao population being illiterate, sharing God’s truth through radio is vital. The team also travels to encourage listeners and to give out more radios. Each journey takes two to three days via flight and buses. But it is all worth it.

    Radios distributed to Yao people in Tanzania.

    “The ground is fertile,” Director Amos Siyabu Phiri shares, referring to the hunger for God’s Word. People are asking for more radios, and visits from the team. The doors to their hearts are wide open.

    “We thank God that we are now saved through listening to Litala programs on shortwave. We are blessed by having the Word in Chiyao, which has given many of us hope for salvation. I am very grateful to receive an audio Bible together with the windup radio, which is my daily food.”

    “I am very grateful today that I have received Jesus Christ into my heart and am now the son of God through listening to FEBC programs.”

    The number of listener clubs has mushroomed to 40, and a total of 15 people have, like the five in Mbatamila village, been baptised!

    **Statistics from the Joshua Project.

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