Some months ago VOM's newsletter staff asked VOM workers who travel overseas and meet with persecuted Christians to share the stories that had most impacted them as they'd travelled. Several shared stories of Christians that had become personal heroes to them. Dory P. shared this story of her hero, a Christian woman in Nigeria:
I think about Rose Northcott almost every time I pray. I met her while interviewing Christian widows who had lost their husbands in sectarian violence in northern Nigeria. Rose wasn't just sympathetic to the widows — she was one of them. She lost her husband in a religious riot in Kaduna, Nigeria, in 2001. When the riots broke out, her pastor husband donned his clerical collar and left to check on the church. Rose never saw her husband again; he was beaten and stabbed by a Muslim mob. After we prayed with several of the widows, Rose asked me why I often finished my prayer with the words "In your name, amen." Rose said, "There is power in the name of Jesus. I don't know how it is in America, but in Nigeria we need the power of that name when we pray." Now I never pray without using that name.
Rose is my hero. She is my hero not only because of what she suffered through the loss of her husband but also because of how she came through it. Her deep spiritual life is the foundation on which she is rebuilding her life as a widow. She has a new role as caretaker of the many Christian widows VOM supports in Nigeria. Each month, she gathers the widows so they can share their difficulties and worship God together. She checks in on them each month, making sure none are forgotten.
I pray that I can someday be a woman like Rose — strong, loving and serving Christ among those who hate him. In the name of Jesus, amen.
This article reprinted from The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. To receive the newsletter at your home (available to US residents only), sign up here. You may also be encouraged by this video of a persecuted Nigerian pastor sharing about his suffering and how VOM has encouraged his ministry. You can support widows of martyred pastors, like Rose, through VOM's Families of Martyrs Fund.