Nigeria (MNN) – More than two million people have been displaced by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Over 208,000 Nigerians have fled to neighboring countries including Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. Many have also fled to refugee camps in northern Nigeria. However, the camps do not necessarily guarantee their safety.
“These people, just because they’re in these refugee camps in some cases, they’re still not out of harm’s way,” World Mission’s Greg Kelley says.
“I can remember when I was in a refugee camp about a year ago and I saw mortar shells that had been patched up recently in some of the buildings. And what was happening was as these people were gathering together to get the aid that these trucks would bring in, some of the Boko Haram people actually had come in with suicide bombers trying to kill the people as they’re gathering for aid.”
Lack of Food and Supplies
The UNHCR reported food insecurity and malnutrition is extreme where refugees are residing, and their insecurity has also affected those communities hosting the refugees. In the Lake Chad Basin alone, more than 7.2 million people were reported to be food insecure.
As Boko Haram militants continue attacking those bringing and receiving aid, the need for food and supplies is increasing.
Despite the danger of attacks, World Mission is entering refugee camps in northern Nigeria to bring food, clean water, sanitation products, medical supplies, and their solar-powered audio Bible, The Treasure, to be loving and encouraging in the name of Jesus.
“People are terrorized and there’s no doubt about it, and that’s the objective of Boko Haram, or Al Shabab, or one of these other radical groups, is to inflict terror so that they can control. And so, we go in with a very different approach. Ours is one of love,” Kelley says.
Good coming out of the Tragedy
In the midst of the refugee crisis, there is good that is coming from it. Kelley notes that formerly unreachable people and villages have been consolidated into camps that are accessible to World Mission.
They are now able to minister to the people and share the Truth about Jesus.
However, because many of these refugees are Muslims, choosing to follow Christ or even listening to the Gospel can add to the persecution they face.
Yet, Kelley says, “I’ve been in these camps. It’s an amazing experience and sight to see thousands of people who literally have nothing, but they’re so receptive to the Gospel and so Treasures are being distributed and shared.”
World Mission teams are dedicated to encouraging, loving, and supporting Muslim refugees as they come to Christ. Kelley says the teams don’t have an agenda and aren’t forcing Jesus on refugees. But they want to show them how loved they are by God and that going into these dangerous areas to share the Gospel with them is worth the risk.
“I think at the end of the day, every follower of Jesus has to be motivated by that truth, that is about eternity. And we have to reach these places that are difficult. The low hanging fruit of missions is done. We have to go into the hardest places that Jesus died for to share the Gospel and that’s what our people in northern Nigeria are doing.”
Support Nigerian Refugees
World Mission teams face many challenges as they go into these refugee camps and the UNHCR reports the Boko Haram crisis is far from over.
Please pray God will protect World Mission workers and the refugees from terrorist groups like Boko Haram. Pray the people World Mission ministers to will be receptive to the Word and choose to follow Jesus as their savior. Pray also for the provision of supplies and food for refugees in Nigeria as well as surrounding nations.
You can help refugees and internally displaced people by providing tangible support through World Mission. Your support can literally save lives now and for eternity.