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Faith Over Fear in Nigeria – Mission Update!

Nigerian Christian children forced to live in IDP camp by Boko Haram insurgency. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Nigerian Christian children forced to live in IDP camp by Boko Haram insurgency. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted©

(Voice of the Persecuted) We’ve been busy! Much is going on behind the scenes to better advocate for and aid the faithful suffering in persecution. Our founder, along with other members of the team, recently met with VOP’s Nigerian Project Leader, Fr. Gideon Obasogie and Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Borno State. During the mission discussions, they focused on the current situation of our Nigerian brothers and sisters and ways VOP’s Project 13:3 Nigeria can better help them to endure. We have long warned of Boko Haram’s murderous campaign and their capabilities. Last year, the Boko Haram was described as the world’s deadliest terror group and has wreaked terrible death and destruction across the region. Like those in Iraq and Syria, they too have faced some of the worst persecution the world has ever known. Yet, the media seems less interested in covering the Nigeria crisis as the majority of reports are focused on the Middle East.

Fr.Gideon Obasogie, VOP Founder Lois Kanalos, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Fr.Gideon Obasogie, VOP Founder Lois Kanalos, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria supporting a camp for those displaced by extreme persecution. Many in the camp come from areas hardest hit by the radical militants. They’ve survived unimaginable attacks, kidnappings, rape and great losses. Nearly every person has suffered the death of family members. It has taken a serious toll on their physical and emotional health. Many will need long-term counseling and medical rehabilitation. More than two million people have been internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. Based on those in ‘unregistered’ camps some report the number is much higher.

Overwhelming Silence

For the most part, the global community has blatantly looked away. It has shocked a number of us at Voice of the Persecuted and the reason a few advocates have named these dear ones, The Invisibles‘. Many in the West are unaware that every day, Christians are facing some form of persecution in North Nigeria. Bishop Doeme said. “Since Boko Haram’s emergence, it has been one attack after another on the church, on individuals and families.” Aid reaching these victims falls way short compared to the scale of the crisis. We cannot continue to ignore them any longer. Our silence has added to the acute suffering. We are the Church, we must do more to aid our brethren when others will not.

Christians have been severely impacted as the military fights to push back the jihadists. Many fled their villages which were completely razed, even going as far as neighboring Cameroon to seek safety. Family members became separated with many of the victims unaware if their loved ones are still alive. They are hopeful that the government will soon take down the Boko Haram. They are praying for the ability to return home safely. The military has taken back some areas once controlled by the militants. Weary from the conflict, some people have recently started to return. But many villages are still unstable and under threat of possible attacks, including suicide bombings. Their safety outweighs the risk of return. They’ve been through enough.

Project 133 Nigeria mission meeting Mar 2016During our meeting, we listened as they shared heartbreaking stories of what can only be described as demonic activity. One may not like to hear us use such terms, but the extreme brutality and torture being witnessed is not human. Our Nigerian brothers and sisters agree. However, they ask us to pray for their persecutors as they are lost and have been deceived.

We heard horrifying accounts of women and children watching their husbands or fathers murdered before their eyes. Some have lost multiple family members in a single attack. They saw their homes doused with flammables as everything they owned was set on fire, burned to the ground in a heap of ash. In particular, the story of one woman stands out. She begged the militants to take her life after they forced her to watch the beheading her husband, a man with great faith. Strangely the insurgents ignored her. She grabbed the shirt one of the militants, demanding they relieve her from living without the man she loved and the loss of all she had. She claimed she would rather be with him than to face another day without. Once again, the they seemed not to notice her. They did not rape or take her as a spoil. She lives today! Praise the Lord with us that our Christian sister has been spared. Pray that she will overcome the intense grief, will be uplifted and shown love and concern by us, the Church as a whole.

Gideon spoke of boys abducted to kill in the insurgency, Young girls forced to become suicide bombers. Some ran away before they were blown to bits to protect their neighbors recognized in the crowd. Women and girls kidnapped and used as sex slaves. Thousands, like chattel, taken over the past 6 years. But many have only heard of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014. The whereabouts of most of the 270 Chibok girls are still unknown, only 56 escaped captivity. Nearly all the girls were Christians. We pray these little sisters have hope in Christ, are remaining strong in their Christian faith and know He is always with them. Please pray for them and the release of all captives held by the Boko Haram.

Divine Strength in Christ

Fr. Gideon reported stories of the incredible faith of those facing immediate death but held onto Jesus until their last breath. Miraculous news of those submitting their lives free from fear as if nothing was happening while they were brutally killed. Though it was a blessing to hear of these miracles, many have suffered immensely. Take heart, all these dear ones are precious in the sight of the Lord. They will be given white robes and a crown of life! One day, we will rejoice with them and together give glory to our Almighty God.

eyn-church-building-in-nigeriaThe insurgency has been ongoing since 2009. Some have been living in the IDP camps for years. Many churches have been destroyed or stand vacant. Whole congregations fled as their communities were experiencing or under the constant threat of attack. Eventually, pastors also had to run for their lives leaving their churches behind. Some began ministering in the IDP camps, as they too became refugees in their own land.

Brother Gideon told us,

“They can destroy our church buildings, but they cannot destroy our faith.”

Many of you may remember Brother Gideon and others from the camp on our January 24-hour Prayer Conference Call EventDuring that call, we heard directly from, asked questions and prayed for persecuted Christians. While we were praying, Gideon told us that explosions were taking place and the city was under attack. It was an anxious moment for all of us. Fr. Gideon shared how important the call is for them. How they feel as if they’re sitting in the same room praying with us. Our founder, Lois Kanalos shared how many of you have been deeply touched hearing their voices, their current status and connecting with them on a deeper level. He was very encouraged and looking forward to the next Prayer Call Event in April.

In Christ, Bishop Doeme has learned to deal with the anxiety that comes with each attack.

“Fear will always come,” he said. “But then, as a believer, the faith overshadows the fear.”

Fr. Gideon pointed out the Bishop’s bright red socks, which stood out in contrast to his dark clothing. He explained the Bishop wore the socks as a reminder to the faithful that he would not abandon them. He would be the last to leave, even if that departure meant martyrdom. The Bishop nodded and said,

“God has planted me there in order to serve the people.”

They expressed their gratitude for all the prayers of protection. The Christian camps in the nearby area have not been affected by recent attacks! They also said, our Nigerian brothers and sisters are very encouraged knowing we pray for them.

When many pastors have been forced to flee, these brave men have vowed to stay with, help to protect and care for all Christians, regardless of denominational differences. Voice of the Persecuted also stands united with all who call Jesus Christ, “Lord” and are persecuted for their faith. We are honored to work side by side. We thanked the Bishop for allowing our dear Brother Gideon to lead VOP’s Project 13:3 Nigeria to care for Christians who have suffered the most at the hands of the Boko Haram. Aid has even been given to moderate Muslims, particularly women, who have suffered alongside those we intend to help, which is in agreement with the VOP mission.

Continued Pressure

We were informed of the stress many Christians are facing in government camps. They’re constantly pressured to convert to Islam and often passed over for daily food rations and water. Women are extremely vulnerable and preyed upon by Muslim men. It has reached a level where Christians leaders are now asking the brethren to leave these camps and find those aiding Christians, such as our camp. The numbers in this camp rise and falls between 400-700 people. Larger numbers are seen following attacks. We’re told those in the camp have spread the word for others to come. Sharing they feel cared for, receive 3 square meals a day and medical needs are supplied.

Thanking the Lord

Thanking the Lord

The Bishop specifically spoke about our completed well project and the great blessing it has been to those in the camp. Not only has it protected them from the cholera outbreak experienced from the contaminated local well, they no longer must trek the long distance carrying heavy buckets back and forth to the camp. It has made a huge impact on them and they are forever grateful to all who have partnered for its construction. THANK YOU! They pray daily for the Lord to continue using this mission and for those making it possible through their gifts.

Excitedly, we all praise God as we discussed how the Lord has directed Project 13:3 Nigeria from the very start. From covering the needs of one family to caring for the needs of the entire camp a year later. We were reminded of the loaves and fishes. God is truly blessing His saints! With Christians now being forced out of government camps, the numbers of our brothers and sisters needing our help have grown.

Voice of the Persecuted has been asked to expand the mission to aid 2 more camps—2000 in one, 7000 in the other. We humbly ask for and need your support to help alleviate their suffering. We pray He can use each one of us to do our part for His love to shine on these persecuted brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Any amount is greatly appreciated. If your church is being led to do more for our persecuted family, please contact us. We would be happy to send detailed updates of this relief project. Is God calling you to be a part of this important mission?

Christian Children Nigeria copyright photo Voice of the Persecuted©-1

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home. we will be there to help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

 Article may be shared and reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted.  

 

Boko Haram Named World’s Most Deadliest Terror Organization

Boko-Haram

Nigeria: (Voice of the Persecuted) For the past year, the world’s focus has been on the terror group ISIS, but many have overlooked the 6 year Nigerian nightmare called Boko Haram. For years, Voice of the Persecuted has warned about the insatiable bloodlust of this notorious Islamic group and compared their deadly campaign equal to, if not worse than, the Islamic State’s (ISIS). But news coming out of Nigeria garners little interest, even our own Nigerian reports barely get a glance. This has led our team to often call persecuted North Nigerian Christiansthe invisibles. It isn’t hard to see why God has called our hearts and hands for our Nigerian brothers and sisters. The lack of interest has caused greater hardship and suffering for Christians in the north of the country.

Attacks and military clashes have forced a staggering number of North Nigerians from their homes. 2.2 million people have been labeled as IDP’s, internally displaced people. The UNHCR is reporting 175,000 more have sought safety in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Thousands of people, including children have been abducted, especially girls. Some of those kidnapped have escaped or been released and tell a horrifying story, which can be called nothing less than evil. Many have only heard of the Chibok schoolgirls taken in April 2014 who are still missing. Since taking office in May 2015, President Buhari and his new government promised to eliminate the militant threat and have stepped up counter-insurgency efforts, but the humanitarian crisis shows no sign of declining.

Nigeria is divided in two parts: the predominantly Christian South and the Muslim North. Most incidents recorded are in the northern part of the country. The Boko Haram goal is to Islamize society and force strict Sharia, Islamic law on the population.

Though the government and coalition forces have sought to destroy Boko Haram, the militants continue attacks through suicide bombers, often using young girls. Some of the girls have been reported to be as young as 10 years old. We’ve learned many girls have been given by their militant fathers to carry out these missions. These girls get only one choice, become a suicide bomber or be killed. One girl described watching another girl buried half underground then stoned to death for refusing to take part in the deadly missions. 1,000 people have been killed, mostly in suicide bombings, since Buhari took office. For years Nigeria has been asking the U.S. to help defend against the terror group, but it wasn’t until President Buhari took office that the Obama Administration offered to do more. 300 U.S. troops have now been sent to Cameroon where they will help train military personnel and operate drones.

The Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, J. Peter Pham warned, “The literally fatal conceit of all too many policymakers and analysts with respect to Boko Haram is to constantly underestimate it,” and “This despite the fact that the group has repeatedly proven itself to be one of the most resilient of its kind and has constantly shifted not only in terms of tactics and operations but also strategy and, indeed, ideology.”

According to The Institute for Economics and Peace latest report, Boko Haram is responsible for more deaths than other militant group in the world.

Terrorism spread significantly in the past year, with attacks and fatalities in more countries than ever. While many countries experience no terrorist activity, the number of countries to experience at least one or more deaths from terrorist activity has increased from 59 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. This includes OECD countries such as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France.

Despite this, just five countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria– account for 78% of all deaths in 2014. Importantly, over 60% of the countries ranked by the Index experienced no deaths from terrorism, and 13 times as many people are killed globally by homicides than die in terrorist attacks.

Boko Haram and ISIL in numbers_branded

Terrorist activity is a significant driver of forced migration. Ten of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism also have the highest rates of refugees and internal displacement. This highlights the strong connection between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and conflict.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber exploded at a busy marketplace in Yola where many of the IDP’s have sought refuge. At least 34 people were killed and 80 injured.

On the same day, two suicide bombers killed at least 15 people in the city of Kano and 53 wounded.

Since their insurgency, Boko Haram has killed 20,000 and forced millions to flee their homes. The U.N. Children’s Fund says 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, the highest number in the world.— Only half the children among the millions of refugees from the uprising are going to school in camps. Boko Haram which means, “Western education is forbidden” has committed many atrocities at schools that have closed, been burned down or been abandoned in northeastern Borno state.

The Nigeria crisis is overwhelming. The effects of persecution doesn’t end with the attack, it’s only the beginning. North Nigerian Christians have suffered for years at the hands of these persecutors. Many have become orphans and widows. They are weary, grieving, some mentally broken with many feeling forgotten by the international community. They’re barely surviving with little food, shelter, medical supplies or treatment. Deplorable conditions and lack of hygiene in refugee camps make them susceptible to illness and disease. A large number are fearful in ‘designated camps’, further persecuted and pressured to convert to Islam. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable. Thousands find themselves fleeing what they thought would be a safe place of refuge. Many claim they’d rather live in the bush then in these camps. They are grateful when able to find places of safety among other Christians.

Voice of the Persecuted – Project 13:3 Nigeria

orphan-306x4601In the camp we are aiding, the people are  struggling. Many in the camp had resided in one of the hardest hit areas by the Boko Haram. Their villages are either burned to the ground, or not safe and they cannot go back home.  Many are so thin, hungry, sick or at risk of becoming ill, and newborns who’ve not yet been seen by a doctor. There is an urgent need for food, medication, clothing, and beddings.”

We are praying with your help to continue to get the needed medical and nutritional needs to these families. There is no other choice but for them to live under the extremely harsh conditions of the camp. It has also been determined to prevent further cases of disease, such as Typhoid, a clean water well must be constructed. We have agreed to be a part of this much needed project and plans have already begun.

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through your support and they keep you in their prayers.

We cannot forget or give up on them. These dear ones are in dire need of our compassion and support. Is God calling you to be His vessel in Nigeria? Is the Lord is burdening your heart for them? To shine God’s love and comfort over these families, our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus?

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Nigeria: Our People Returning Sick, Hungry and Traumatized

image (1)

(Voice of the persecuted) Maiduguri, the capital of the Nigerian State of Borno, was hit by new attacks committed by Boko Haram on Sunday, September 20th. According to varying reports, between 54 to over 100 people were killed. Despite this, the inhabitants of the city who decided to escape the violence, are now returning.

Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the Social Communications Director of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria, asked Voice of the Persecuted to share this message:

In an earlier interview with Vatican Radio’s English Service for Africa, Fr. Obasogie said “Most of our people are coming back to their communities”. Many towns, homes, schools, hospitals, bridges have been razed down by the bombs of Boko Haram. Generally life and movement in this part of Nigeria has been very difficult.

“A lot of our people are back, but they look sick, hungry and traumatised. “These communities need support. The Bishop of Maiduguri, Oliver Dashe Doeme, has taken the unusual step of sending priests to these same communities where security is far from certain. He wants the priests to accompany the people as they try to rebuild their lives”.

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The ordination of three new priests in one of the communities that was bombed and ransacked by Boko Haram was a sign of hope. Despite fears of new attacks, the faithful who even come from distant places of the diocese went to the ordination Mass.

Fr. Obasogie says that against all odds, “The faith of the Church in this part of the country is truly growing.  We appreciate all people of good will who have demonstrated their love and care towards the suffering Church of Maiduguri Diocese. Our people have come to experience greater faith than ever before.  They hold on to their faith in their plight and difficulties. God is all we have now,” he emphasised.

He also relayed, “the Buhari administration is doing its best to end the insurgency. The military is advancing and recapturing those communities that were under the terrorists’ control. Despite this, a lot of people are still afraid of the presence of suicide bombers around the city and villages”.

Due to conflict, particularly in the north east by the Boko Haram insurgency, the humanitarian situation has become dire. The needed counter-insurgency has added to and may further increase the numbers of displaced people. Many husbands, wives and children have been separated unable to locate and unaware of their loved ones condition. Humanitarian needs are great. The displaced in the camp that Voice of the Persecuted is aiding has doubled in the last few months. There are many staying here who are unable to return to their completely razed villages, or areas still at risk of attacks.

Recently, deaths have been reported from a cholera outbreak at three nearby camps in the area. We thank God to report none at our camp were affected by the outbreak! To lessen the chance of disease, sanitation safeguards had been put in place and much effort made to keep the camp clean. We invite you to rejoice with us for the gift of life, new babies born at the camp! Raise these little ones up to the Lord, along with their families, the road ahead may be long and hard.

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

You may also mail your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

 

Clergyman in Nigeria Has Conducted More Funerals than Weddings

The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, archbishop of Jos. (The Living Church)

The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, archbishop of Jos. (The Living Church)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Amid reports of more Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, a clergyman here told protestors that in the past 15 years he has conducted more funerals than weddings.

After leading hundreds of Christian demonstrators to the Plateau House of Assembly on Aug. 31, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican archbishop of Jos, said the deaths were the result of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

“As a pastor, I have conducted more burial services of those killed through attacks than weddings and naming ceremonies since 2001,” he said. “It’s sad to note that most victims of the attacks are harmless children, some infants, women and youth.”

Archbishop Kwashi, also addressing members of the House of Assembly, said urgent steps must be taken to curtail the violence.

“The Nigerian government must end the killings,” he said. “Attention should not be concentrated only in the northeast alone, as people too are being killed here in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.”

Peter Azi, speaker of the House of Assembly, responded with a statement condemning unprovoked attacks on Christian communities in Plateau state. He gave assurances that parliamentarians were doing everything possible to urge the federal government address the violence.

A protestor, Teyei Paul, said the Nigerian government has been largely silent on the unprovoked killings. Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s statement, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil,” Teyei said government silence is an indication of subtle support for the onslaught against Christians in Nigeria.

On the day of the protest, armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians in Tanabu village, Gashish District, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, including a community leader and a leader of a Women’s Fellowship Group of a an area Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), sources said.

An area resident whose identity is withheld identified the victims of the ambush as Maiungwa Akare Mangam, Mashingil Mangam, Paul Akare, Elizabeth Ezekiel and Josephine Sunday, all of the COCIN congregation in Tababu Makoli Gashish, Barkin Ladi LGA. The source told Morning Star News they were killed on their way to a local market.

“The five Christians were ambushed and murdered on Monday, Aug. 31, at 6 a.m.,” he said. “They were shot with guns, and their heads were smashed and their faces destroyed. The victims were on their way to Mai-katako market for business.”

He added that it was the second attack in two days.

“Two days earlier, on Aug. 29, Jol village was attacked by the same Fulani herdsmen,” he said. “In this village, the Muslim Fulani gunmen killed many of the villagers and wounded dozens of others.”

He said Jol village has been attacked more than 30 times.

“Several Christian communities in Barkin Ladi and Riyom have completely been uprooted and displaced,” he added.

The Rev. Dachalom Datiri, president of the COCIN, confirmed the killings.

“We did receive report from our local church in that village on the killing of our members, and like we have always stressed, there is the need for the Nigerian government to take necessary steps to end these killings of Christians in the country,” Datiri told Morning Star News.

One of the Christians leading protestors alongside Archbishop Kwashi in Jos, Daniel Meshak, said Christians have largely deserted Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs, with survivors living in displaced persons camps. He said 50,000 Christians have been displaced from their homes.

Istifanus Pwajok, member of the Plateau House of Assembly, told Morning Star News at the protest that there were more than 22,000 displaced Christians in eight camps alone. Another protestor whose name is withheld told Morning Star News that on Aug. 29 he witnessed the killing of a Christian in Riyom.

Boko Haram also has continued to target Christians. Addressing journalists a week earlier, the Rev. Samuel Dali, president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, said the Islamic extremist group, which seeks to impose Islamic law (sharia) throughout the country, had destroyed denominational church buildings, hospitals and Bible schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

Dali said most Brethren pastors in the three states lost their lives or been displaced.

“Seventy percent of our churches have been destroyed in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states by Boko Haram, more than 8,000 of our members were killed and 176 of the girls kidnapped in Chibok are our members,” he said.

The Brethren church’s headquarters in Mubi, Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria have been moved to Jos following an attack on the church headquarters last year.

Nigeria’s State Security Service issued a statement from Abuja on Aug. 30 that it had arrested 20 Boko Haram members in different parts of the country, and that some of them were involved in carrying out bombings in Jos.

Morning Star News

Boko Haram’s Reign of Terror Continues: 37 Dead – Villages Burned to Ground

boko-haram-terror

(above) An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration with others who have daughters among the the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, Tuesday April 29, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria.

WRITTEN BY LEAH MARIEANN KLETT

Editor’s Note: You can help some of the victims of Boko Haram’s terror campaign – Voice of the Persecuted’s, Project 13:3 mission offers aid such as nutrition, shelter, clothing, medicine, encouragement and Spiritual needs. The large .orgs are not helping where VOP is, there is great need, please prayerfully consider helping. Click here to donate (secure donation through PayPal)

Greg TOBR

Militants with the deadly Boko Haram extremist group have burned down six northeast Nigerian villages and killed 37 people near the insurgents’ Sambisa Forest stronghold, a survivor has revealed. 

Ahmed Ajimi, a fighter in the anti-Boko Haram Nigerian Vigilante Group, described how on Wednesday night, the insurgents rode into the village on four-wheel vehicles, shooting at fleeing locals and hurling firebombs into village huts. Read More 

A special thanks to the Editor at The Olive Branch Report for supporting our mission!

Severely Persecuted – A Family’s Incredible Story of Survival and Faith

nigeriachildwar

Living in an area that became extremely dangerous for Christians, a persecuted family describes their harrowing journey to escape one of the most violent terror groups in the world. With no time to gather any belongings, they could bring only one thing with them, their FAITH.

(Voice of the Persecuted) Northern Nigeria is an area where we’ve been called and blessed to serve persecuted Christians. The Islamic group, Boko Haram has committed brutal atrocities against the Christians living in the north. Many church leaders believe they are attempting to eradicate Christianity from the region. Based on Boko Haram’s murderous campaign, for the past 6 years, it’s hard to disagree with them. The Christians have begged for help, but there is much silence and a lack of interest from the international community to alleviate their suffering. Due to the severity of the crisis, we could not desert them. In prayer, we intercede on their behalf and will be their VOICE.

Through intercession, we heard the cries of one brought low. One who had turned to God and cried out for a miracle. Then we heard the call from God, “MOVE!” To be the hands and feet of Christ and care for the His saints in Nigeria. With much prayer and discussion, VOP voted to begin the mission Project 13:3 Nigeria to address the issue by supplying aid and hope to Christians passed over and falling through the cracks. In particular widows and orphans. We pray for the ability to assist them to the point where they are safe and able to sustain themselves. ‘Making a difference, one family at a time.’ Operating in the Spirit, individually and together, we trusted God and prayed daily for Him to reveal this family to us. In less than a week, those prayers were answered.
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Unaware of the project, one of our contacts, a Nigerian pastor asked us to share in joy and thanksgiving for the gift of new life. Lydia, a Christian refugee, had given birth in a camp for the internally displaced (IDP’s). She had come from a community that had been under the threat of Boko Haram since 2009. But when the terrorists’ activities intensified, they sacked the whole community forcing the residents to flee to the hills, caves and other places for safety.
Note: An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although, they do not fall within the legal definitions of a refugee.
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Separated from her husband, who was taken by the militants during an earlier attack, the pregnant mother of 6 children experienced extreme trials. It’s nothing short of a miracle that they survived. For many months, She received no communication or word of her husband’s condition. Our contact said it was heartbreaking that no one knew his location, or whether he was alive or dead. They prayed continuously for the family to be reunited. Immediately, the VOP team knew that this was the family. God was sending us to answer Lydia’s cries!

Children forced into refugee camp through persecution. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Their Story

A Mother’s Nightmare

As their village came under attack, Lydia fled with the children to the mountains and stayed in a cave for some months. They drank rain and stagnant waters. “We ate with much difficulty.” Having a measure of flour, she baked with some edible grasses to sustain themselves. Later, they left the cave and found their way to a community where soldiers were present. But Boko Haram members started threatening the community, so she and the children hiked for two days to find safety in Cameroon. She told Voice of the Persecuted (VOP), “It was indeed a true test of my faith, because many people were staying back and embraced Islam.”

They finally reached the U.N. refugee camp and stayed for two months. For the well-being of her children, she chose to leave the hard conditions of the U.N. camp. They headed back towards Nigeria and trekked for nearly a week on mountainous roads. She described how their feet were swollen and “the children were at the point of death.” She said that they had God’s protection, if not, they wouldn’t have survived. The family arrived and stayed at another camp, but soon realized they were the only Christians. Uncomfortable with the threat of conversion, she moved the children from place to place until they found safety in a Christian IDP camp. She told VOP that they were welcomed by the church leaders who treat them as their own children. They finally felt safe. Soon after arriving, this brave mother prepared to give birth to her seventh child.

Can you place yourself in her position and imagine the stress, or the thoughts that ran through her mind? Would she ever see her husband again?Would he ever meet his new baby?  How will she care for her family in his absence? When will the violent persecution stop and would they ever be safe again? She prayed to the One she knew was listening. He had and would continue to answer her prayers.

Her child was born at the primitive camp with the love of Christians around them. On that special day, the entire camp rejoiced and gave thanks to God!

God’s timing

Days before the family was to receive the aid relief from Voice of the Persecuted, we were notified that a connection had been made with her husband. The father of the seven children had survived! Arrangements were made to soon reunite the family at the camp. Many prayers were answered! We rejoiced and glorified God with this family and our Nigerian brethren.

Husband witnesses months of complete and unabashed evil

Her husband, along with others had been abducted by Boko Haram militants. “They tied our hands and asked me if I was a Muslim”. When they learned he was not, he was brutally beaten as they called him an unbeliever.  He witnessed them slaughter one of the men, as they shouted “Allau akbar’—meaning god is great.  He described that many were killed in their presence and believed the militants intended to slaughter them all. But soldiers arrived to engage the terrorists in a renewed offensive. The militants ran off and the Christians made their escape into the hills. He relayed how they ran from one point to another, as the Boko Haram terrorists closed in on them. He lamented, “Before my very eyes, people were killed, churches were burnt and houses destroyed.”

Proof the hand of God is on them

“I was trapped for nearly six months on the hills. I fled and hid from the terrorists as God protected and guided me.” The scene was gory and my faith was shattered. But God helped me through it all to find my way into Cameroon in search of my wife and children.” He went from camp to camp, but finally told they had left. He eventually made his way back to Nigeria and at long last, given the location of his wife and children.

“The journey was terrible; I saw a lot of dead and wounded people on the way. Some people were killed by the terrorists and others died due to exhaustion.”

After going through such extreme psychological and physical stress, this family suffers emotional distress. But with God’s love and compassion from the Body of Christ, we are sure they will overcome. So many of the persecuted feel a loss of dignity when stripped of all they have and forced to beg for simple basics. But these are our heroes, inspiring us with true faith. From the frontlines of the ‘battle’, they choose Christ and are given divine strength to fight the good fight against evil. We are blessed to share in their testimony and honored to serve them.

They are praising God for laying it on your hearts to support this mission providing the gifts that have comforted them. In the joyous moments of reuniting with his family, the aid relief was presented to them at the camp. Food, utensils, clothing, shoes, bedding, baby needs, travel cases, soaps and hygiene products. We have also supplied ongoing medical care for the mother and her new baby. It appears the infant has a umbilical hernia, which we will stay updated on. If necessary, we will cover the costs of any surgical procedure the child may need.

Her husband was greatly moved by the timing and generosity of your gifts. As precious seeds that have been sown for God’s Kingdom, they brought encouragement, renewed hope and faith to this suffering family. In his words,

From nowhere and in our nothingness we have come to see the hand of God at work in our lives. We are gradually rebuilding our lives through the aid of our benefactors: Voice of the Persecuted. Thank you for putting smiles on our faces.” The couple decided is name their new son, Emmanuel which means “God with us“.

They have been through so much and are still face many challenges. For now, it’s unsafe to go back to their community. And when the time comes that they are able to return, all must be rebuilt. The suffering caused by persecution lingers for quite some time. Also, they are vulnerable to becoming victims of abuse and must be protected during this time of rehabilitation. We have given them a foothold, but they still need our assistance to get back on their feet. As the Body of Christ, we can help them to heal by providing for their Spiritual, emotional and physical needs. In the same way the first century Christians cared for one another in love. And they desperately need our prayers.

So many tell us that they don’t know how to help when there is so much suffering. This family along other families, including those widowed by persecution reside in this camp. Aid has been stretched so thin, many never see it. We are stepping up to help relieve the burden. Please partner with us to cover these families, they have all suffered immensely. Don’t be overwhelmed, it will crush any good that your heart intends to do! WE CAN DO THIS, TOGETHER! Please share this story. Encourage others to join in praying for and aiding these persecuted brothers and sisters. We greatly appreciate and need your help and support.

Saturday, we will be sending an encouraging letter to our brothers and sisters in the camp. All those who have donated this month and those donating to the Nigerian Project by Saturday, your names will be added to that letter. When donating, you’re also welcome to add a message which we will include in the letter. They would love to hear from you!

Lois Kanalos, Founder and the VOP Team

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Voice of the Persecuted Project 133 Nigeria

Aiding suffering Christian suffering in persecuton

You may also send your gift to:

Voice of the Persecuted
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Voice of the Persecuted

Names have been withheld for security purposes. Article may be reprinted and shared with credit to Voice of the Persecuted

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Boko Haram renames itself Islamic State’s West Africa Province (Iswap)

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(Voice of the Persecuted) In March, Abubakar Shekau the leader of Boko Haram pledged allegiance to IS. The Boko Haram group terrorizing north Nigeria has renamed itself, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (Iswap).

Proving their expansion into Africa to create a global ‘caliphate’, IS (ISIS) is now promoting the Islamic African group and highlighting Boko Haram fighters who have been killed, as martyrs. VOP has warned for the past year of the ties this group had with ISIS and others. All of them banding together for the same outcome, total Sharia rule. And it’s laws forced upon every citizen.

It is unclear if IS has endorsed the name change.

This allegiance with the Islamic State could bring heightened attacks to the already weary displaced in the north. Churches who have stayed to care for the refugees are beyond the brink of their capabilities to care for so many. Christian leaders and pastors have warned for sometime that the Boko Haram has been targeting Christians and trying to eradicate any form of Christianity in the region. They have also reported that the media refuses to share their full reports to show the discrimination and extreme persecution North Nigerian Christians are suffering.

The Nigerian military with the help of a coalition force from surrounding nations have gained victories in reclaiming areas taken over by the Islamic militant group. With the backing of the Islamic State, their fight could become more lethal further endangering Christians.

Please continue to remember and pray daily for Nigeria.

PRAYER POINTS:

  • Pray for peace in Nigeria.
  • Pray the many missing and displaced to be reunited with their families. May God clear a path and make a way for them.
  • Pray they will hold on to their Christian faith in the face of the enemy.
  • Pray that they feel the Lord’s presence with them.
  • Pray for more helping hands and caring hearts.
  • Pray for more VOICES so their cries will be heard.
  • Pray for God’s intervention and the eradication of these demonizing terror groups.

VOP is working in the Nigeria to aid the extremely persecuted. Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Voice of the Persecuted

Project 133NigeriaLogoURL

 

Prayer Request for Nigeria

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PRAYER REQUEST: Tensions are high due to the elections taking place in Nigeria. Pray for a calming peace on the nation. Pray for the protection of the persecuted who have already suffered so much.

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