Nigeria (MNN) — A decade ago, Christians in Nigeria worried about persecution on an annual basis, says Voice of the Martyrs USA. But in 2012, they're being attacked nearly every week. Even the simple act of attending church on a Sunday puts a believer at risk.
Terrorist group Boko Haram is usually behind it, not hesitating to shoot or severely beat Christians. This summer, the terror sect issued a press release essentially giving believers two choices: convert to Islam, or die. Christians involved in evangelism often face the most danger because they're on the spiritual "front lines."
Take Evangelist Johnson, for example. He was on his way to a preaching crusade in Bauchi, Nigeria, when a group of angry Muslims stopped his bus.
"Chanting, they closed the road," he recounts in a video interview. "The driver stopped because they covered the road.
"Then they started beating us."
Johnson woke up in a hospital the next morning with serious injuries. He could've harbored bitterness, but the Spirit of God worked in his heart.
"When I look at myself [in pictures taken after his beating], these people have crippled me…. I was angry," he said. "But when I remember with the faith I have inside, I say, 'Lord, have mercy on them. Forgive them.'"
In response to the upsurge of persecution in Nigeria, VOM created a medical ministry to provide for both physical and spiritual healing. VOM Medical pays for persecuted believers' medical bills and consults with doctors to make sure believers are receiving the treatment they require. VOM Medical also provides counseling and spiritual encouragement.
"What VOM has done for me has increased the passion in me," says Johnson. VOM Medical staff visited him in the hospital and supplied him with a book called Tortured for Christ. "This book…has changed me."
With persecution persisting in Nigeria, VOM Medical needs your help to continue their work. By clicking here, you can help provide much-needed encouragement to believers as they recover.