Nigeria (MNN) — It’s no secret that Nigerian Christians are a major target of Boko Haram’s terrorism. But the militant Muslim group’s attacks and murders leave more than physical scars.
We recently spoke with Ray and Denice with Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. They serve as field officers and developers in the ministry’s numerous projects in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Nigeria, and will be speaking at the upcoming Momentum Conference in Oakville, Canada on November 19.
Ray says part of their Gospel ministry in Nigeria is trauma care for victims of Boko Haram.
“Many of these people who have come out of the villages and who have witnessed horrific things — things that are almost unspeakable to talk about on radio — we bring them into these trauma response ministries and we pray for them, we minister the Word of God to them, we cry with them, we hold them. And you know, it’s not just about the physical relief we bring them, but it’s also the spiritual and emotional — we call it soul care.”
Ray and Denice share the story of a Nigerian woman named Deborah. She and her husband were caring for their two young nieces when Boko Haram found them.
“Boko Haram came into her home, confronted her husband who was an elder in the church and asked if he would convert to Islam. He said, ‘No, I’m not going to convert because I’m a Christian.’ Immediately Boko Haram shot and killed Deborah’s husband.
“While watching, there were the two little girls, they were 9 and 11-years-old. The terrorists looked at them and said, ‘Convert to Islam, or what happened to your uncle will happen to you and you will join him in death.’ Both girls looked at the terrorists and said, ‘We will not convert to Islam and we are ready to join our uncle in death. We will not become Muslims.’ So instead of killing the girls, the Boko Haram terrorists actually abducted the two little girls.”
Ray shares, “We saw a picture of [Deborah] holding a photo of those girls and we saw the trauma she was carrying, watching her little girls as they were abducted. She has been searching for those little girls since 2012 in refugee camps.”
Please, pray for Deborah to be reunited with her two young nieces. Pray for the girls to be strong and courageous in their young faith, and for the Holy Spirit to draw near to them in comfort.
Perseverance in Prayer
Here at Mission Network News, we don’t just encourage prayer as a last resort, or something you can do when all else fails. But rather, as Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (ESV)
Prayer is a key tool in our belt, along with the many other ways God has equipped us to support the oppressed and disheartened.
Ray shares this account on the impact of faithful prayer: “I remember having a speaking engagement this summer, and two years ago I had given the church all the names of the Chibok girls. This fellow walked up to me two years later and said, ‘I’m still praying for that one little girl whose name was put on my chair. How is she doing?’ And I was amazed…. It’s a tremendous impact, and we recently heard that several of the Chibok girls had been released. We believe that’s a direct answer to our prayers.”
In addition to praying, you can support Voice of the Martyrs, Canada in their outreach with the persecuted Church, including in Nigeria.
“We do Christmas outreach projects, clothing projects, food projects, VOM medical projects, things like this. So really, just praying for and supporting Voice of the Martyrs brings a huge impact for the Church in Nigeria,” Ray says.
A Steadfast Faith in Nigeria
In closing, Denice says Nigerian believers are remaining steadfast in their faith in Jesus Christ, and are witnessing in their communities — even when it could cost them everything. She shares about a Nigerian pastor and his wife, whom they call Abraham and Sarah.
“They have chosen to remain in their city and this pastor is determined to be there as long as he has a member of the church there. So he has said for him and his wife, they will remain strong and be that witness in that community.”
Pray for the Church in Nigeria to remain a steadfast witness to their neighbors, and that they would feel the strength of the Holy Spirit when they are confronted for their faith.
At the Voice of the Martyrs, Canada’s Momentum Conference, you can hear more faith stories like these from Ray, Denice, and several other guest speakers representing the worldwide Church. Click here to register for the Momentum Conference in Oakville, Canada on November 19!