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Nigeria: Christian Girl Still Captive

Leah (Source: World Watch Monitor)

Leah Sharibu is still in captivity almost four months after Boko Haram kidnapped her and 109 other school girls from their school in Nigeria. (Boko Haram is a Muslim terrorist group.) Most of the girls were allowed to go home after about four weeks. But five had died, and Leah is still being held.

She is believed to be the only Christian among those who were kidnapped. One of the girls who was released said that Leah has not been freed because she refuses to deny Jesus.

Pray that Leah will remain strong in her faith and will stay close to Jesus during her captivity. Also pray that she will be released soon, and that God will strengthen her family members who are waiting for her to come home. Pray that the kidnappers will be inspired by Leah’s faith and will seek to know the God she serves.

(Source: icommittopray.com)


Nigeria: Kidnapped

Parent and Teachers
The June 2018 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine includes stories about bold believers in Nigeria who trust God even in times of sorrow. You can share the adapted stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.
Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

Palmata and Kumai
One day, 9-year-old Palmata and 7-year-old Kumai were sitting outside the front door of their house in Nigeria eating an after-school snack. Their Aunt Deborah, who had adopted them, talked with a neighbor nearby. Inside the house, their father was preparing for a Bible study.

The family’s peaceful afternoon was disrupted when five men with machine guns drove a truck toward their house. The men were part of Boko Haram, a radical Muslim group that attacks Christian villages. They walked into the house and started shooting their guns, then they grabbed Palmata and Kumai and dragged them to the truck.

Deborah ran after the truck as fast as she could, but she fell and fainted. When she woke up in the hospital, she learned that her husband had died in the attack, and her girls had been kidnapped.

Deborah and other Christians moved to a camp for displaced people where they could be safer. For a long time, Deborah felt hopeless. But she has begun to trust that God has a plan for her.

Deborah said, “I feel…if it is [God’s] will for me not to get the girls back, then lead them to heaven. But if it is His will to let us come together again, let the men release the girls. That is my prayer. I know that no matter what we will still meet at God’s feet.”

Deborah with a photo of her girls

Deborah has forgiven the men who attacked her family, and she prays that they will repent. Can you join her in her prayers for Palmata and Kumai, and for the attackers?

(Source: The June 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine)


Nigeria: Two Powerful Gifts

Nigerian Muslim girl selling food

“Why don’t you give the Christians guns?” asked a fifth grader who was visiting The Voice of the Martyrs headquarters. The student had just learned about Christians who are persecuted for their faith in other countries. He was looking for a solution to the Christians’ problems.

Even adults struggle with how to react to the persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. VOM’s president, Cole Richards, is a former U.S. military officer. After he visited Christians whose families had been persecuted in Nigeria, Cole said, “I tried to imagine a military strategy that would capture…every violent extremist.”

But he knew that such a strategy would not defeat evil. “I need to pray,” he said. “I can’t carry this burden. Heavenly Father,…do not let me give in to frustration, anger, or hatred.

“In working with our persecuted Nigerian brothers and sisters,” Mr. Richards continued, “we have received two powerful gifts….The first gift is an understanding that God’s joy…is stronger than their sorrow. The second gift is the knowledge that the gospel is powerful enough to transform even the most sinful among us.

“As our bold and faithful Nigerian family members reach out in love to their enemies, the gospel triumphs over the lies and darkness of radical Islam. The power of Islamic extremism to inflict suffering in this world is nothing compared with the gospel’s power to transform people for eternity.”

(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs June 2018 magazine)

To Talk About
What are the two powerful gifts we can receive from learning about Nigerian Christians?


Uganda: Adamu

Adamu and his family

Four-year-old Adamu lived at a “safe house” in Nigeria with his parents. The residents of the safe house used to be Muslims. After they decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus, Muslim friends and family members began to persecute them. The Voice of the Martyrs provides a safe place for them to live while they make plans for their future.

(Islam is the religion of Muslims. You can read more about what Muslims believe here and in the downloadable book, “Learning About Islam” here.)

The new Christians in the safe house have a strong desire to learn more about Jesus and about how to live as a Christian. One day, VOM workers brought audio Bibles on MP3 players to the safe house for the residents. About 40 percent of Nigerians can’t read, and audio Bibles help the non-readers learn God’s Word.

Adamu can’t read yet either. He was excited when he saw the MP3 players. His excitement turned to sadness when he found out that the Bibles were only for adults. But at the end of the Bible distribution, there was an audio Bible left, and a worker gave it to Adamu! “He cannot read or write yet,” a worker said. “So this MP3 player will help him know the Bible just by listening. In his shy little words, he said, ‘I am very happy.’”

(Source: April 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine)

To Think About
A VOM worker said, “It is interesting to note that many of [the safe house residents] cherish this Bible more than Christians who grew up in the faith. For these Bibles, it is the one thing that they cherish most because they have seen the other side and know the cost of living a life without Christ.”

What does “cherish” mean? Why do you think many of the new Christians cherish the Bible more than some Christians who grew up in the faith?


Unexpected Visitor

Nigeria

Sixteen-year-old Lailah S. wrote a story about an unexpected event that happened during her homeschool social studies lesson.

Read her story below.

Christian: The Man from Nigeria
By Lailah S.

In a kitchen in north central Georgia, three homeschooling women used Kids of Courage [materials] as their social studies curriculum for their seven children. That particular day while they were studying Nigeria, a man showed up to repair the refrigerator.

The women and their children were preparing to make the West African dish “chin chin.” As the women discussed the dish, the repairman overheard and, with an astonished and disbelieving air, asked them how they knew about chin chin. The women responded that [this was part of] their social studies lesson.

Every second more surprised, the man said his name was Christian, and that he had come to America as a child, and had grown up eating that dish. Christian asked how the women had found it. The women explained to him what Kids of Courage was. Christian was open to questions, and answered many as to the weather, the language, the food, the religion, and the culture in Nigeria. He also taught the children a few words in his native tongue. He commended the women for learning about Christians in other cultures.

As he left, he implored the woman who owned the house to request him as a repairman if her refrigerator ever needed maintenance again, emphasizing to her that he would love to come back.

Read the next post to find the chin chin recipe the families used.
Click here to read more about Christians in Nigeria.