Nigeria (MNN) — Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs USA describes a trip to a Nigerian church. “As we walked into the service, there were uniformed young people from within the church, who stayed outside to keep an eye on things outside of the building while we were inside holding the worship service. I asked, ‘Who are those guys? [I was told], ‘Well, that’s people from the church who are just here to make sure there’s not an attack while we’re having our service this morning.’”
Christians in Nigeria have to be on constant alert in case of attack, especially from Boko Haram. In fact, new data find that Boko Haram has killed more people in Nigeria and the surrounding countries than the Islamic State has in Iraq and Syria combined.
This may seem surprising, but Nettleton says that’s because Middle East violence tends to get more media coverage. “This is a report that was done by groups who are looking specifically at Nigeria, they are trying to draw the world’s attention. And the numbers are really staggering. They cite 27,000 people killed by Boko Haram in the last 10 years, and 19,000 people killed by radical Islamists from amongst the Fulani tribe in the last 20 years. We’re talking about more than 40,000 people who’ve lost their lives in Nigeria. ”
Pray for Christians in Nigeria
With this kind of violence happening, Nigerian Christians feel isolated and frustrated that no one, including their own government, is able to help them. Nettleton says, “I think one of the things that we can pray for them is that they won’t give in to that sense of frustration, but will stay encouraged and will keep ministering the Gospel, will keep reaching out in spite of the frustration and in spite of the feeling of, ‘Hey, we’re all alone out here.’”
God is with His people in Nigeria, and they continue to meet together, proclaiming the risen Christ and His kingdom. Pray He will encourage them, and that the government will make an effort to protect them from attacks.
Header image shows the aftermath of an attack in Nigeria against Christians. (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada on Facebook)