Magdhi, Widala in Nigeria

Magdhi, Widala
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People Name: Magdhi, Widala
Country: Nigeria
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,300
World Population: 5,300
Primary Language: Maghdi
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.60 %
Evangelicals: 1.00 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Adamawa-Ubangi
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Magdhi or Widala are an agricultural people who live in east central Nigeria. They are a small group who may merge with larger peoples in the near future. The Magdhi language is endangered. No Christian resources are available in Magdhi. Young people prefer to speak the Hausa and English they learn in school. Unfortunately, many adult Magdhi are unable to read and write. The gospel will need to be presented to them in audio and visual forms.

Where Are they Located?

Among a number of people groups in Karen Lamido LGA of Taraba State in east central Nigeria are the Magdhi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Illiteracy is high among the Magdhi. Their rural villages of the Magdhi people are poorly developed. If crops fail, the Magdhi can potentially experience starvation. They grow rice, yams, maize, millet, beans, and vegetables. Peanuts, kola nuts, and palm oil are cash crops which the Magdhi sell to buy things like cell phones and appliances. Village elders settle legal disputes and deal with outsiders. Most families also have chickens, a few goats and a cow to supplement their diets.

Most people groups in rural Nigeria like the Magdhi enjoy music, story telling and dance as a form of entertainment and communication. These art forms are very meaningful in rural Nigeria. Those who want to take the gospel to the Magdhi people would do well to use these art forms when presenting the gospel.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Magdhi practice a mixture of Islam and traditional religion. They depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them deal with spiritual forces. The Magdhi believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as tree, rock, animals, rivers and the sky. Village shamans connect the Magdhi with the spirit world. The Magdhi live in fear of these evil spirits.

What Are Their Needs?

The Magdhi people need adequate rain for their crops and their livestock so they can live lives free of want and poverty. They need modern medical care and good schools that will help the next generation to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Solar panels can provide electricity to charge cell phones. Most of all, the Magdhi need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and deliver them from their fear of evil spirits.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement to saturate the hearts and minds of this people group.
Pray for God's blessing, strengthening and healing of Magdhi families and communities within this people group through the abundant life Jesus offers to all who call on His name.
Pray that the Lord sends Nigerian Christians to share the gospel with the Magdhi.
Pray for the Lord to multiply the reception and influence of His Word among the Magdhi people leading them to love Him with their whole being.

Text Source:   Keith Carey