Nigeria (MNN) — Nigerian police are on a heightened alert status since the United States’ drone attack on Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. The death of an Islamic military leader could prompt Nigerian Muslim extremists to retaliate – with Nigerian Christians most likely in the crosshairs.
The Islamic State in Nigeria previously executed 11 believers on Christmas Day and released the footage worldwide. The gruesome act was to avenge the killing of their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a US raid in Syria.
The crisis of Christian persecution in Nigeria has crippled the northern part of the country. Boko Haram and Fulani militants ravage the countryside, striking villages and targeting Christians where possible.
Last year, Muslim extremists killed more than 1,000 Nigerian believers. A worker with Voice of the Martyrs recently met an 8-year-old Christian boy named Philip who lost an eye in a violent Fulani attack on his family. Only Philip and his older sister Grace survived.
These are the stories of our persecuted Nigerian brothers and sisters in Christ.
Helen Williams with World Missionary Press says, “It’s a story that must be told and we must keep in our minds because it’s easy for us to read it, feel badly, and go on to the next thing. I think we need to make sure our hearts are touched and are sensitive to this continuing need. It’s not just in Nigeria; but particularly right now in Nigeria, the Church is paying the price there.”
Craving God’s Word
Williams says one of their ministry contacts in Nigeria recently sent an email about the status of displaced believers.
“He said the Church in northern Nigeria is wounded. It’s just been so devastated by the attacks of the militants killing two million homeless, burning churches. They’ve had to escape to refugee camps or IDP camps within their own country.
“He went to one unofficial camp where 40 unassisted families were living in an abandoned market. Thirty-five of the families were headed by widows whose husbands had been killed.”
These displaced families have many needs like food, shelter, and clothing. But one thing persecuted Nigerian believers can’t get enough of is God’s Word.
WMP’s Nigerian contact says thousands of former Muslims are coming to Christ. Between the flood of new believers and the loss of many Christian leaders at the hands of extremists, there is a great need for biblical discipleship.
That is why WMP recently sent a container to Nigeria with nearly two million Scripture booklets and materials. The shipment will arrive in February, and with such high demand, Williams predicts the literature will be distributed quickly.
“What they want to do is get into there, take our material, and disciple these people. We have not just the Scripture booklets which are…good teaching material, but we also have some Bible studies in some of these languages,” Williams says.
“Getting material into the hands of the believers in southern as well as northern Nigeria is another sign that the Body of Christ worldwide is behind them. In other words, they’ve not been abandoned because it’s difficult.”
Stand With Them
All the biblical literature WMP ships is free to the recipients, but it does carry a price tag for the ministry. That’s where you come in.
“People can contribute!” Williams says. “We’re a ministry. We don’t charge anything…. We rely on the Lord to supply through His people whose hearts are touched to share in the burden that we have to give out the Word.”
Click here to donate to WMP. You can even designate your gift to Nigeria.
Finally, Williams asks believers around the world to stand with them in prayer.
“We pray over our container as it is loaded here…that God will prepare hearts, that there will be a harvest of souls, that the Word will be effective, [and] the Spirit will have the liberty to use the Word.”
Also, she says, “We must support [Nigerian Christians] particularly in prayer — that God would give them strength, give them boldness, but give them peace.”
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.