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Nigeria: Showing Christian Love

Nigerian girl

(The story below comes from The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions.)

“This past year,” said a worker from The Voice of the Martyrs, “we gathered together with ministry partners from around the world. I asked John, one of the partners from Nigeria “What story does the Lord bring to your mind to keep your heart soft?”

“John told the following story.”

In Nigeria, we are generally very poor. Most of us do not have money for things like shoes. I remember as a child I would look forward to Christmas every year, because that was when I would receive a new pair of flip flops.

When I was growing up, it was common to be beaten as a child. It is so normal that no one bats an eye over it. Violence in crowds is also common. You learn very quickly to keep your head down and fight for whatever is yours. The weaker ones get pushed to the side.

One year I had received my new pair of flip flops, but in no time the strap broke. I was going to throw them away, but one of the timid girls was watching me. She was one who had often been pushed to the side. She was from an extremely poor family. She had no shoes – ever. She asked me what I was going to do with my flip flops. I said they were broken and was going to throw them away. Very shyly she asked if she could have them. I gave them to her without much thought.

She was overjoyed with her treasure! She proudly repaired the strap and wore the flip flops with such joy. Every time that girl looked at me after that, she had such appreciation in her eyes. It was in that look that I realized for the first time what Christian love looks like. As an adult, I often reflect on that story and realize that I had overlooked her, left her helpless and undefended when she was beaten by other kids, unseen for years. The Lord used those flips flops to teach me about Jesus and his love: to look past what seems normal in our culture and live the life that was normal for Christ.

To Think About
How might remembering the story help John in his work serving persecuted Christians?

Read the next post to find out how kids in Mexico used flip flops to help them remember Christians who are overlooked or mistreated.


Where Are They Now? Danjuma

Danjuma still smiles

Read a previous post about Danjuma here.

Danjuma was a young boy when terrorists launched an early morning attack on his Christian village. He was so badly injured by a machete that villagers dug him a grave. To their surprise, Danjuma survived and recovered, though he was left blind and with severe injuries. During his recovery, nurses often remarked on his joyful smile.

A year ago, Danjuma enrolled in a school for the blind, and he is now in his second year there. According to the director, he is a fast learner and very intelligent. She also said he still walks around with that joyful smile on his face.

(Source: The December 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length and clarity.)


Camps for Persecuted Kids

Nigerian teen

The previous post told about Nigerian children who were injured in attacks by Fulani attackers. Other kids in Nigeria have been persecuted by Boko Haram terrorists in the country.

Some kids had lived in the same houses since they were born. Then they watched as terrorists burned down their homes. Others saw family members attacked.

Do you think that some of the kids were angry and sad? They were. The Voice of the Martyrs sponsored camps for teens who needed help getting through their anger and sadness.

The teens made friends with other kids at the camp who were also sad and angry. Together they worked to understand the Bible’s lessons about forgiving enemies. The camp leaders hoped the teens would also learn that they did not have to see revenge against those who persecuted them.

VOM workers said, “Pray that they will continue to find peace in Christ and share their eternal hope with others in their community.”

(Source: icommittopray.com)


Nigeria: Healing and New Life

Dalo

A previous post told about Dalo, an 8-year-old Nigerian boy who is praying for his persecutors after he was injured in an attack. Dalo wasn’t the only child who was hurt in the June attacks on Christian villages by Muslim Fulani attackers. VOM workers have visited others in Nigerian hospitals.

*When the workers visited the hospital, 2-year-old Melody was improving and starting to drink liquids.
*Two-year-old Sylvia received injuries on the neck, hand, and stomach. But she was smiling and playing when Christian workers visited her.
*Gift, age 10, still has pain from a gunshot wound. “But she is a strong and brave girl,” a VOM worker reported.

It is good news that the children are healing. And there is more good news. Over the past 15 years, thousands of Fulani have decided to begin new lives as Christians. The Voice of the Martyrs is helping many Fulani Christians who are now persecuted for their faith. “There are Fulani persecutors, but there are also faithful Fulani followers of Christ who are themselves being persecuted,” said a VOM worker. “Pray that they will find encouragement in the Lord.”

(Source: vomradio.net)


Nigeria: Abel

Abel with an audio Bible

Abel, a young man in Nigeria, got a phone call one day from a former classmate. The old friend invited Abel to lunch. He said he wanted to find out how Abel was doing.

But the phone call was a set-up. While they were talking at a café, a van drove up. Abel’s brother and two other men jumped out and forced Abel into the van.

The men were angry because Abel had decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) They locked him in a room for two weeks with very little food, then ordered him to return to Islam.

But Abel had seen Jesus in a dream, then studied the Bible and learned about Christianity from a pastor. He had given his life to Christ and trusted Him as his Savior. “I am not going back to Islam, because what I have seen is the truth, and I have made up my mind to stand on that truth,” Abel told his captors. Then the persecutors left him alone in the room.

Abel’s mother heard about his situation and sent her daughter to unlock the door where Abel was held. He was free!

Now Abel distributes audio Bibles and helps other new Christians stand firm in their faith. The new Christians trust him because he has overcome many of the same obstacles they have faced.

(Source: The September 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter)

To Think About
What obstacles have you or our family faced in your lives? Is there someone else facing the same obstacle that you could help in their difficult time?