A country in the Arabian Peninsula with sun-baked desert roads worn down by centuries of trade in incense and spices. Yemeni women, of whom only 30% are literate, sit behind closed doors in their strongly traditional Muslim households. Those who come to faith are threatened with harsh treatment, imprisonment and death.
There is a collection of letters written by Ethel A. Killgrove to her mother Amelia Killgrove, and her brother Tom from Arabia and Ethiopia, describing her work as a missionary in Arabia and Ethiopia. Ethel Killgrove was working for the Soudan Interior Mission which was established in 1893. SIM as it is currently known, is an international, interdenominational Christian mission organization. After many mergers the Soudan Interior Mission goes by the name of “Serving in Mission,” or SIM. It is made up of united organizations that began over a hundred years ago, including Africa Evangelical Fellowship, Andes Evangelical Mission, International Christian Fellowship, and the Soudan Interior Mission.
Miss Killgrove writes to her family describing life in Aden, then under British rule, and in Addis Ababa and other locations in Ethiopia, her letters describe conditions, learning both Arabic and Amharic, tensions in the area resulting from the end of World War II, the birth of Israel and the conflict in Palestine, the hostility of Saudi Arabs and Yemenis to the presence of missionaries in the area. She describes Jews leaving Arabia by the boat and truck load passing through the port of Aden bound for the new Jewish State. Miss Killgrove worked primarily among Arab and Ethiopian women and taught a girls school in both countries, and she also helped run a Christian Radio Broadcast in Ethiopia.
September 10, 1949, Aden, E. A. Killgrove to her mother
“… A few days ago, a young Arab mother had taken me to her home in a “village” of folk from Yemen. They were so friendly and a little girl in their home wants to attend the girls school when it opens. Today, that Arab woman came to the dispensary again. And I knew that my visit in their village had stirred up a lot of interest because a lot of women came today from that village. I saw them watch me as I moved about the dispensary. They didn’t miss a thing and I know they read me long before they will ever listen to someone read the word of God.
Who are these people? They are Arabs from Yemen – a part of Arabia north of Aden – with a population of many thousands – yet where all doors are firmly shut against miss’ys. We often wonder if the bondage of Islam which these ten million people are under will ever be lifted. The devil has held this land in a tight grasp since the sixth century and we see few openings for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Country Profile of Yemen (bakilnadhari.wordpress.com)