50 posts categorized “Nigeria”

April 2, 2014

Freed Captives Recount Boko Haram Abuse

Many have been killed or kidnapped by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, but six girls who managed to escape their brutality are now living in Christian centers, where they are putting the pieces of their lives back together. The girls—Anna, Hajja and four others—were kidnapped in separate attacks. Hajja was held for three months, while others were held for several days.

On May 15, 2013, Anna boarded a bus in Maiduguri, Borno state, along with five other passengers. When they reached their destination, they were attacked by Boko Haram as they got off the bus. Anna watched as the militants killed the other five passengers, all men. The lone survivor, she was taken to the Boko Haram camp as their hostage. While in captivity, she saw more than 50 others killed by the militants. Those brought into the camp were quickly identified as either Christian or Muslim by their ID cards. The Christians were immediately executed, and the Muslims who refused to join the Boko Haram were also killed. Nigeria_Map

On May 26, Anna was told by one of her captors to be ready to convert or face death the next morning. That same day, one of the hostages tried to flee in an unoccupied vehicle. As he started to drive away, others, including Anna, ran to get into the vehicle. Only Anna and another young man made a successful escape, finally walking a distance of more than 160 miles to safety.

Another abductee, Hajja, was held captive for three months after being abducted in July 2013. One of the Boko Haram members planned to marry the young girl, but they still beat her mercilessly, demanding that she convert to Islam and wear a hijab. After finally managing to escape, Hajja was taken in by a Christian center, where her hope is gradually being restored. The home of the girl’s parents was burned by Boko Haram during an attack on their village shortly after the girl’s escape.

Like Anna and Hajja, the other four girls were abused and told that they must convert or face death. All of them were terrorized by Boko Haram as they watched loved ones and others die around them. Three of them, including two young sisters, were forced to marry their captors.

Each of the six girls managed to escape, and because their villages and homes have been destroyed and their families displaced, they are living in Christian centers supported by VOM. They are all reportedly in good physical health and are also very happy to have hope for a future.

(This story first appeared on VOM's primary web site, www.Persecution.com.)


January 31, 2014

NIGERIA: 60 Christians Helped, 80 More Waiting

While the assaults by radical Muslims in Nigeria have faded from the news, the attacks on Christians have continued to escalate.Prostheticclinic2014

What would you do? Go to church knowing you could be attacked? Avoid sharing your faith? Or even deny your faith to save your earthly body?

These are very hard questions and Christians in Nigeria (predominantly the north) face this dilemma almost daily.

In recent years, Boko Haram has become a predominant Muslim terrorist group. And their mission is to eradicate Christianity—and anything Western—from Nigeria. While burning churches and beheading Christians is common, another tactic is often used, that of severing a limb, usually a leg.

In response to these attacks, The Voice of the Martyrs continues to enlarge its prosthetics clinic in northern Nigeria. With the help of technicians donating their time along with quality materials shipped from the U.S., we are able to assist our persecuted brothers and sisters with new prosthetics.

“We have been able to provide 60 persecuted believers with custom-fitted prosthetics in the last 12 months. We have identified 80 more Christians who need one.”

– Cole Richards, Vice President, International Ministries

Tragically the victims have even been children, like Mary. She will now learn to walk again thanks to VOM’s prosthetics clinic.

When you donate to VOM’s Families of Martyrs Fund, you are also helping those who are living martyrs, even children like Mary who choose to follow Christ no matter the cost.

Please click on the link below and consider a donation to VOM’s Families of Martyrs Fund and help us meet the growing need of providing quality prosthetics to your persecuted family members in Nigeria.

Click here to partner with VOM in providing more prosthetics to our family members like Mary.


November 26, 2013

Returning to Help in Nigeria

Nicodemus

Nicodemus Ado was a student at the Stephen Center in Nigeria, a home and boarding school supported by The Voice of the Martyrs. The center houses and educates Christian children whose parents have been killed in attacks by radical Muslims.

“My father was a pastor at the Baptist Church in Kaduna,” Nicodemus said when he was a 14-year-old Stephen Center student. “He was burnt to death by the rioters during the Kaduna riot.

“I have seen God’s power at work in my life by provision and salvation. When I feel scared, I immediately and normally take my Holy Bible and read and pray. That is the way I find peace."

Ten Years Later

“Ten years ago, we heard about Christians in Nigeria being attacked every other year. Then there were two or three a year. Now we sometimes hear of attacks every other week.”

— The Voice of the Martyrs field worker 

Weng was 3 years old when radical Muslims attacked the Christians in his Nigerian village. As VOM previously reported, all nine people in Weng’s family died, and their house was set on fire. Weng was rescued from the fire, but his feet were burned.

Christian victims of attacks have at times been denied medical treatment at facilities in parts of Nigeria. The care received by those who need prostheses has been inadequate and of insufficient quality to serve the victims in the long term.

VOM started a program to provide help for people like Weng who need prostheses. VOMedical workers have set up a prosthetics clinic with the goal of training Nigerian Christians to staff it. Through the clinic, God is providing hope and a healthier future to amputees. 

Nicodemus, Prosthetics Team Trainee

“After the conclusion of my secondary education, I left the Stephen Center in August 2010…to proceed with my university education,” Nicodemus said recently.

“In December 2012, the director asked me to join the prosthetics training team. I had never heard of prosthetics before; I wondered what it was.

“I concluded my training in June 2013. The training brought many things to our knowledge, and we were exposed to more advanced technology in the field of prosthetics….I enjoyed every stage of the training process…I would love to embark on further training in the field.”

More than 300 children now live at the Stephen Center. Their time at the center provides them with biblical and academic preparation that will allow them to be a light to their troubled nation and to help other Christians as they have been helped.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

(Quotes edited from the original for clarity.)

VOM’s Kids of Courage resources help parents and educators teach children ages 5 to 13 about persecuted Christians around the world, and provide opportunities for children to serve and pray for them. www.kidsofcourage.com


October 24, 2013

Weng Walking (video)

Weng Goodluck Tshua was three weeks old in March 2010 when Fulani Muslims attacked his village of Dogo Nahawa and slaughtered 501 Christians. All nine members of his family, including his father and mother, were killed. He was rescued from his burning house, but not before the fire had consumed his feet. As Weng has grown over the past few years, he has been unable to run around or even walk. But a VOM prosthetics team is helping change that.

After studying his feet, the prosthetics team fashioned special shoes for both of his misshapen limbs. They returned several months later with specially fitted shoes that can be adjusted as three-year-old Weng continues to grow. Each shoe is made of three layers. As Weng grows, the inner layers can be removed as needed, to allow more room in the shoes. The team plans to provide new shoes for Weng before he grows out of the final layer of these shoes.

Recently VOM received new video of Weng, proudly walking around in is new, custom-made shoes. May it bless all who see it and encourage more prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Northern Nigeria.

 

You can give online to support blessings like this one to Weng and help provide for other Christians in need of medical care due to persecution by giving to support VOMedical.

October 21, 2013

IDOP: Less Than Two Weeks Away

With less than two weeks to go before this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on November 3, is your church planning to “Remember them that are in bonds” (Hebrews 13:3) on this significant Sunday?

The Voice of the Martyrs has created a short film to invite and inspire your church to pray for our persecuted family around the world. This year’s film focuses on Christians in Northern Nigeria, and was shot on location in that nation with help from Christians there.

 

VOM will send you—FREE of charge—a DVD of this powerful film to share with your church congregation or Sunday School class. You can also purchase additional resources to remind your church to pray for persecuted Christians, not only on IDOP Sunday but throughout the year.

Order today in order to insure delivery in time for November 3.


September 3, 2013

"If You Love Me"

“For me the issue has been settled. The Lord called me to reach out to my people and I have to. So whether they are killing me, I will still love them with the love of God. I do not see them as my enemies because they killed my son. I have forgiven them because they do not have Christ and that is all they can think at their level.”

These are the words of Reverend P, a pastor in Northern Nigeria whose son was murdered by the militant Muslim group, Boko Haram. Reverend P had received threats from Boko Haram because of his Christian faith and ministry. One day while his son was out walking they attacked him, cutting him to pieces with machetes.

Nigeria_Map
Nigeria

I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to find Rev. P’s response of love and forgiveness astounding. Oftentimes, we like to talk about how much we love God. Love makes us feel good. But love isn’t just kindness and good feelings. God’s love is fierce. It’s jealous, unyielding and all consuming, in a pure and holy way. God’s love for us caused him to give up what he held most dear, his son Jesus Christ. And that same love asks much of us in return.

How do we show God that we love him beyond just giving lip service? The Bible says “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15).  If we can show God we love him through obedience to commands then that begs the question, which commands? Isn’t the Bible full of commands?

There is a story in the book of Matthew where a lawyer asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is (Matthew 22:34-39). He wanted Jesus to pick just one. However, when pressed with the issue, Jesus couldn’t pick just one—he had to pick two: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” What Jesus is saying here, which he reaffirms in scripture elsewhere, is that you cannot separate loving God from loving people. In fact, you can show God how much you love him by loving other people.

The Bible says “what you have done unto to least of these you did to me” (Matthew 25:40). Often we think of “the least of these” as a poor orphaned child or abandoned widow; that could certainly be true. But the least of these could also be a Muslim militant member of Boko Haram. Those hardest to love are often “the least of these.” So when Rev. P choose to love his son’s murderers and to obey the Bible’s command to “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), he is showing God how much he loves Him.

The Bibles says faith without deeds is dead (James 2:26). God wants our faith to consist of more than us telling Him we love Him, he wants us to show it. And one of the best ways to do that is by loving others, even when it’s difficult.

The good news is that this love is not contingent on our own abilities. Rev. P said “I will still love them with the love of God.” God is the only one who can grant us miraculous love in such a tragic situation. But it starts with a choice, like Rev. P, you get to decide daily if “the issue has been settled” in your heart or not. Will you show God your love for Him by loving the hardest of people?

"Grace Taylor" serves on the staff of VOM. She was first introduced to the ministry of VOM by her parents and grandparents, who received the VOM newsletter, and through the VOM book Jesus Freaks. She has served in 12 different countries and is passionate about helping expand God’s Kingdom throughout the nations of the world.


August 5, 2013

When Does Forgiveness Come?

For Agnes, forgiveness was a long time in coming. Agnes is a Christian widow, living in northern Nigeria. In 2004, her shop-keeper husband was caught in a religious riot in Kano. Muslim rioters entered his shop and shot him with arrows. Bleeding, with arrows hanging from his chest, he ran home. The mob chased him and broke down the door. He was killed in front of Agnes and his four kids, who were barely able to convince the mob not to kill them, too.

After the riot, Agnes stayed in the community. She had nowhere else to go. When she saw her husband’s attackers on the street, she crossed to the other side. She was able to move on with her life, but she still resented the men who had taken her husband away.

Nigeria_MapIn January of this year, Agnes was invited to a prayer conference through The Voice of the Martyrs in Nigeria. She spent three days with several other widows and some trained facilitators. They listened to teachings on several subjects over the three days, including forgiveness. They also spent time in prayer every day.

While praying with a group of women on the second day, Agnes felt a nudging in her spirit. She realized she needed to forgive her husband’s killers all these years later. She prayed, “Father, I need to forgive. Help me to know how to do so.” As soon as she prayed, she felt a shift in her emotions. Suddenly, she had compassion for her persecutors, and she felt sorry for them.

Today, when she sees the men on the street, she doesn’t need to cross to the other side. She can walk by calmly and even offer a greeting. Her attitude has changed so much that she was able to forgive another man who stole from her. She was given a rooster to raise for an income, and a Muslim man stole the rooster, sold it, and donated the money for construction of a new mosque. But with her new-found compassion in Christ, Agnes can smile at the man when she sees him.

For some, forgiveness is a long process. For others, it’s quick. For Agnes, it took almost 10 years for her to reach forgiveness, but now that she has, it’s a practiced habit.

YOUR TURN: In the comments, share a time in your own life where you had to forgive someone. Was it a long process or did it happen instantly for you?


June 3, 2013

Nigeria Trip Report

Last month VOM's Todd Nettleton visited the nation of Nigeria to meet with and interview persecuted Christians, including several who have been treated in the new prosthetics clinic provided by VOMedical. Last week Todd was a guest on Moody Radio's program, “In the Market With Janet Parshall,” and talked about the trip and the people he met with in Nigeria. Listen to the interview below.

Nigeria: In The Market Interview

Special thanks to Moody Radio, Janet Parshall and the producers of "In The Market With Janet Parshall" for permission to post this interview on the PersecutionBlog.


May 30, 2013

HELPING HANDS

Photo of the day: this photo was taken recently by a VOM team visiting Nigeria. The team was blessed to meet with Nigerian Christians, hear their stories of persecution and faith, and pray with them for God to bless them and to bless the church in Nigeria.

Dogo_Nahawa_Helping Hands

Please pray for Christians in Nigeria.


May 7, 2013

VIDEO: New Limbs Give Hope in Nigeria

The support of VOM readers provided 16 patients with prosthetic legs in January 2013. "I feel so happy!" said Esther, a woman who received one of the prosthetic legs.

Attacks against Christians in Nigeria have increased over the past three years. As the number of victims has grown, VOM has responded with a one-of-a-kind medical clinic. This special prosthetics lab will greatly improve the lives of amputees. "Providing them with mobility will impact not only their own quality of life, but also that of their families," said a VOM medical worker.

Enjoy this video of some of those blessed by this ministry:

 

You may also give online to support the vital work of VOMedical.