This continues a series that will focus on an unreached people group. These are the bottom 40 Least-engaged Peoples, meaning that there is no ministry known to be going on within the group. According to the population number, every 50,000 people is assigned a potential missionary, so, you can see how many missionaries are needed for each peoples. Here is the fourteenth group:
Berber of Egypt (Siwa)
Missionaries Needed: 27
Bible?: portions; New Testament 2009
The Siwa Oasis lies seventy feet below the surrounding desert. It is accessible by a gorge that is wedged between sandstone hills and worn into fantastic shapes by wind and weather. Inside the oasis there are refreshing pools with groves of olive trees and date palms. Long ago, Cambyses, the Persian king who conquered Egypt in 52 B.C., sent 40,000 men to attack the Siwa Oasis region. However, the soldiers neither reached their destination nor returned to Persia. It is assumed that they all perished in the desert.
The Siwa do not keep camels, although they are used in the caravan trade. Native domestic animals include cattle, goats, donkeys, dogs, and a few sheep. Milk is an important element in their diet, as is the butter made from the milk.
Like other Berbers, the Siwa live in a patriarchal (male-dominated) society. They are Muslims, and according to Islamic law inheritances are traced through the males. These religious principles also determine which portion of a man’s estate goes to his widow; the balance is divided among his children, with full shares to sons and half shares to daughters. Wealth distinctions are very important to the Siwa. Servants make up the lower class of society.
Having only one wife is the prevailing Siwa custom, but polygamy (multiple wives) is permitted. Marriage with first cousins is common. A tradition among the Siwa is that a bride, dressed in her finest clothes and with her hair plaited in forty braids, is led to the village pool on the eve of her wedding. There, an old woman bathes her and removes the silver disc of virginity, which hangs from her neck. On the way home, the bride is intercepted by her fianc�’s family, who present her with many gifts. Among them are forty dresses, of which seven must be worn-one on top of the other-on the wedding day.
Family life is patrilocal, which means that newlyweds live with the groom’s parents. Sometimes a new level is added to the house to accommodate the young couple. Homes are typically rectangular and often several stories in height. They have walls of stone and clay, and flat roofs of thatch covered with earth. The town is run by a council of male chiefs. Although the chiefs are supposed to be elected, their sons often inherit their positions.
Pray that the doors of Egypt will soon open to missionaries.
Ask God to provide evangelistic tools and equipment needed to reach them both spiritually and geographically.
Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible into the Siwah language.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Siwa Berber toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will open the hearts of Egypt’s governmental leaders to the Gospel.
Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Siwa bound.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Siwa Berber.