in metro new york
“Bodega” is a Spanish word that can mean “wine cellar” but is often used in large cities like New York to describe the ubiquitous, small corner stores that sell groceries and cigarettes in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Ironically, of the 10,000 bodegas across New York City (NYC), about half are now Yemeni-owned. Yemenis are divided on the ethics of selling alcohol in their bodegas, but most of them add hookah (vaporized, flavored tobacco for smoking) to their merchandise.
The Yemeni American Merchants Association is active in helping their businesses succeed, whether those businesses are bodegas spread throughout NYC or the many Yemeni businesses located in Little Yemen of the Bronx or Brooklyn. Little Yemen of the Bronx is an ethnic enclave located in the eastern half of the Bronx in Van Nest. Within a mile radius surrounding Little Yemen are 500 Yemeni owned stores and businesses. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn around 5th Avenue in the 70s is the location of Brooklyn’s Little Yemen. Altogether there are about 20,000 Yemeni in Metro New York.
The American Community Survey 2017 counted 14,563 people born in Yemen living in Metro New York. Yemenis typically have large families, so when counting American-born Yemeni children, the number of Yemenis would at least number 20,000. Using census information instead of community estimates helps compare populations of people groups in various cities. However, the population is likely larger than this number. Some articles, like this one, estimate 50,000 Yemenis live in New York City alone.
There are several mosques in New York City with mostly Yemeni in attendance. MAS Bronx Muslim Center in the Bronx’s Little Yemen and Masjid Al-Imam Al-Albani on 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn are two of them.
NYC’s Yemeni community is almost exclusively Muslim but with differing levels of devotion to Islam. This is evident upon visiting their different bodegas. Some strictly follow halal regulations, while others sell pork and alcohol products forbidden by Islam. Some Yemenis use their stores as proselytizing venues, posting Muslim prayers and tracts for shoppers to read.
Unreached people groups can also be viewed as "hidden" people groups (i.e., they are largely unnoticed and unaffected by the global Body of Christ). In the prayer gallery section below, as well as through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool, you can visualize these hidden people group communities. By doing so, we pray God gives you insight into how to pray through what you see. By scrolling through major points of interest in the prayer gallery section, pray for people you see, and pray that the peace and hope of Jesus will become known to people who frequent these places. Through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool linked at the bottom of the page, you can virtually prayerwalk through the community, praying "on site with insight." You could also take the route and points of interest from that tool and save them to your "Google Maps" to prayerwalk in person. Allow the following three steps to guide your prayers using these tools, and try prayerwalking with another person or small group! God hears the voice of His people, and He responds to our prayers!
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for His blessings and salvation that is extended to all peoples. Praise and thank Him for appointing the time and boundaries of this people group's presence in North America so that they might seek Him and find Him (Acts 17:26). Pray Scriptures that come to mind about His glory being made known among all peoples and nations (e.g., Rev 7:9-10).
Luke 10:2 says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Pray for God's laborers to share Christ's love through hospitality to this people group. Pray for laborers among this community to establish loving relationships and proclaim the gospel. Pray for Christians to emerge from within this people group who will reach their friends and family members.
Most members of unreached people group communities remain unreached because they have failed to hear the gospel in ways they can understand. Others have heard the gospel but have many barriers to overcome before receiving the gospel. Pray that this community will understand the gospel. Pray for God to draw them to Jesus and remove the barriers that keep them from salvation in Christ.
Yemeni American Merchants Association
The Yemeni American Merchants Association was founded in the aftermath of a 2017 Yemeni-owned bodega strike in response to the temporary U.S. Executive Order travel ban from Muslim countries such as Yemen. The organization seeks to empower their “community through outreach, education, and support, to build a brighter future for Yemeni Americans.”
Visit this page to learn general information about Yemeni communities in North America and their religious beliefs. Also, discover resources to help share Jesus with them in their language.
Prayerwalk through some of the main Yemeni restaurants, places of worship, and businesses in Metro New York using a tool we developed in Google Earth. You could also do a prayerwalk in person using the same points of interest.