By Rae Burnett, Africa Director for Christian Aid Mission
The whole world watches as Boko Haram increasingly terrorizes Nigeria with the stated purpose of establishing Sharia Law. They are well-funded and heavily armed with sophisticated weapons and bombs. No one doubts that they have outside support. It is obvious that federal, state and local governments will look the other way as they follow their path of murder and destruction of property.
Up until now, missionaries of the indigenous Nigerian ministries supported by Christian Aid have not been directly targeted by Boko Haram though several supporters have been murdered, and random terrorist shootings have come close. These missionaries have not involved themselves at all in politics, only the gospel, and have kept a low profile until now.
Nigeria is Africa's most populated nation and by far its most influential, politically, economically, and spiritually. Nigerian Christians have exerted a dominant and profound influence in missions throughout the continent and established the first indigenous training schools for native African missionaries. Pray with our brothers and sisters that this vicious onslaught will not push the country into national sharia law and Islamic dominance, destroying the precarious 50/50 balance between Christian and Muslim which has before been peaceful.
Today, I received this report directly from a ministry leader who has been my friend since 1996. The ministry name is not mentioned for security.
Terrorists have struck again. This time we had to evacuate our missionaries from Kandawa fields as Muslim militants discovered the work and threatened them. Right now we need your prayers as Chris (the overseer of all ministry work in the northern Islamic area) is still trapped in the fields with several missionaries, some with infants.
On Sunday, three churches were bombed in Kaduna and Zaria killing several people. This led to reprisals and killings all over the place. Yet the government is doing nothing.
More than 65 people are already confirmed dead. A 24 hour curfew has been declared, and we do not know how to reach the converts in the war zone.
Before today, Boko Haram had not done so much damage to us in this part of the country. We are appealing for funds to buy mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets and food for our converts that are about to move out.
This is urgent. We have dispatched three other staff, but there is no access to the area. Fighting and fighting. Please we need your prayers for Nigeria. I am writing this in the midnight asking for all our friends to pray and help. You can also send support to them. Our staff for the first time are affected in this kind of killing. Help and ask believers to pray and support. We need your support and we need your prayers.
The converts too need prayers. We do hope you will pray for Nigeria now.
We need to relocate quickly. I am currently in Abuja (the capital city) and will go to Kebbi state to rescue our staff as soon as possible, but no going in or out of the area for now. We want to be ready immediately when they can escape with their converts.
We are so grateful for the property Christian Aid enabled us to buy, but we must have resources to build our simple headquarters and a place to help these victims of terrorism.
Thanks for your prayers for Nigeria and others around us.
Over the past few years, this indigenous Nigerian ministry has experienced tremendous open doors for the gospel in Islamic strongholds that have never before been evangelized. Because of the violence of Boko Haram, the ministry must move its headquarters from an Islamic state where they have been in peace for more than 25 years, to a centralized and neutral place better suited to direct the work.
Christian Aid has provided the land, but $35,000 is needed to provide a simple headquarters building where the leader and staff would also live. I cannot stress enough the importance and urgency of the need for the ministry. After so many years, the work is well-known and could be targeted at any time. Please pray for these heroes of the faith as they continue to press forward with the gospel in this time of extraordinary danger.
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