Nigeria (MNN) — A midnight attack in Nigeria’s capital sets a troubling standard. Shooters took four teachers and two of their children from the University of Abuja. More details here.
“The fact that it happened in the capital city is a sign of, perhaps, a loss of control,” Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.
“Abuja [may be] becoming more like areas of northern Nigeria where, unfortunately, these types of activities are all too common.”
Abductions were limited to remote communities until now. Ask the Lord to strengthen Nigerian Christians and give them courage. “Pray for a sense of encouragement, that they won’t give in to a spirit of fear,” Nettleton requests.
“When you see attacks like this day after day, and you live under constant threat and danger, it’s easy to grow discouraged.”
How to help persecuted Christians
Kidnapping for ransom is not a new trend in Nigeria. Some 1,400 students were kidnapped this year during attacks on schools.
“Particularly in the northern part of the country, it doesn’t seem that the government of Nigeria has either the ability or the will to put a stop to those attacks,” Nettleton says.
Through VOM USA, you can help church leaders who want to stay in northern Nigeria. Learn more here. “One of our staff met a pastor who had sent his family further south because he knew it was unsafe; he knew the danger was very, very real,” Nettleton says.
“But he stayed and said, ‘Listen, my church needs a pastor. My flock needs a shepherd. I’m going to stay here.’”
VOM USA helps persecuted church leaders fulfill their calling by providing tangible support. “Our calling is still to serve the Lord, to make disciples, to grow the Church. We’re still going to answer our calling, despite the danger,” believers tell Nettleton.
Nigeria’s good news
Believers’ commitment to their calling pays off. “Muslims are coming to Christ in Nigeria, some of them very devout and even radical followers of Islam,” Nettleton says.
One man used to be an imam, a religious leader in Islamic circles. Today this man serves the Lord and wants to reach other imams for Christ.
“He said, ‘If you tried to talk to a whole group of imams, they [would be] afraid to ask questions; they didn’t want to seem curious about Christianity. But if you could sit down [with an imam] one-on-one, almost always they were open [and] curious” about the Gospel, Nettleton says.
“Good news stories are coming out of Nigeria as Muslims are being reached with the Gospel [and] choosing to follow Christ.”
Header image depicts part of the university’s front entrance. (Wikimedia Commons)