Boko Haram violence surges in Cameroon

By August 7, 2014
(Photo Pastor Jean Kesvere courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Pastor Jean Kesvere (Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Cameroon (MNN/WMM) — Boko Haram continues its rampage across Northern Nigeria with attacks on at least five churches in and around the border area with Cameroon.

At least 25 people were killed in Cameroon in two attacks. In the town of Kolofata, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister and her maid were kidnapped.

The second attack hit World Mission personally. Executive Director Greg Kelley explains, “In Northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is also very active, one of the pastors that we’ve worked with was just kidnapped, and unfortunately, he was killed.” He’s talking about the murder of Pastor Jean Marcel Kesvere of the Lutheran Brethren Church of Cameroon. Kelley noted, “This man was just an amazing servant of the Lord. He was described by his friends as very ‘courageous’ and ‘peaceful’ and someone who wasn’t afraid of the challenges and difficulties.”

(Image Cameroon flag courtesy Flickr/CC/comphotos)

(Image Cameroon flag courtesy Flickr/CC/comphotos)

Things had been getting more dangerous in recent days, with reported sightings of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in the area. Shortly after the radical sect kidnapped more 200 school girls in Chibok, authorities spotted several of the girls in Cameroon, indicating that someone was providing Boko Haram safe haven over Nigeria’s border. Fighting them is like fighting smoke. Even so, Kelley says Kesvere was undaunted. “He planted six different churches. The irony of it all was that they found his body in one of the villages where he planted a church.”

Although saddened by his death, Kelley is confident that the work Kesvere started will continue. Why? The people he rooted in Christ aren’t giving up. “They continue to rejoice in the Lord and know that He is in control despite the persecution. They continue to pray for other people to step in and fill the gap.”

Recently, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, along with Nigeria, promised to set up a joint-force to fight the Boko Haram crisis that has spread across all their borders. The rebels are bent on establishing a separate Islamic state in northern Nigeria to be rule by Sharia law. They’ve waged a campaign to rid Northern Nigeria of Christians. For a while, there were brutal attacks nearly every Sunday throughout Nigeria. However, rather than scatter the Christians, the pressure has united them, says Kelley. “That’s all they know, and so they just pursue the Lord when these things happen. It just makes them stronger in their devotion to Jesus.”

(Photo courtesy World Mission)

(Photo courtesy World Mission)

World Mission wants to help the church withstand these pressures by being better prepared for persecution and equipped for cross-cultural evangelism and proper discipleship of believers. “Our commitment is to distribute The Treasure, which is a solar-powered audio Bible that’s about 4.5 ounces (smaller than most people’s cellphones). We believe that the Word of God is really the most important aspect of any mission initiative.”

Three ways you can pray: Pray for the resources to provide the Word of God to people. It changes hearts. “We get constant requests that more Treasures would be sent in, in the various languages. We have 6,000 different languages. We just got a request from Africa for 5,000 Treasures, so, constantly, we need to provide more Treasures.”

Then, “Pray that God would raise up other laborers, because a gadget will never replace the flesh and bones of a missionary who goes in there and talks to these people and relates to them with real life circumstances.”

And finally, pray for boldness. The Treasure helps, says Kelley.” It allows them to gather around the Truth of the Word of God to encourage, growing in their knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is. It really helps them stand in the face of adversity.”

Their adversity is met with quiet hope. “We could learn a lot from them,” he concludes. Click here for details on how you can help provide God’s Word to believers in Cameroon and elsewhere.

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