Christians in Nigeria are enduring a firestorm of adversity and are in need of persevering prayer from the body of Christ around the world. Nigeria continues to nurture violent adherents of Islam whose onslaught against Christians is unending.
Our ministry partner in Nigeria, Pastor S. narrowly escaped an attempt on his life last month. As he prepared in his office for a counseling session with a young Christian couple at a church in northern Nigeria, gunmen burst into the small church building.
The young Christian couple who were to be married in June, and a young man with a calling on his life to become a pastor, were gunned down. As Pastor S. heard the gunfire explode, he jumped out of the office window, climbed the security fence, and jumped to the ground. He landed on a large rock and broke his femur bone. Members of the church assisted him following the attack. A church member who is a carpenter quickly made wooden crutches and they set Pastor S’s fractured leg in place for the trip to a more secure hospital in southern Nigeria. Thank you to all who have given to our Martyrs Fund as Smyrna assisted the parents of the martyred young Christians with funeral and burial expenses.
The doctor has given Pastor S. a recovery time of 6 to 8 weeks, yet he is already anxious to return to the north and to the church that is now without a shepherd. He writes, “As soon as I am discharged I will head back to xxxx. My problem now is the effect on the Church because most people decided to lie low at home afraid that they (the gunmen) might come back. The heat on us is getting tougher by the day. The killings are now a daily affair. Please keep us in your prayers — God bless you.”
Recent attacks alone by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Christian families and churches have resulted in nearly 100 deaths.
- On April 24th, gunmen descended on an early morning church service, killing two pastors and 17 congregants.
- On April 25th at least 39 people, most of them Christians from the communities of three different villages, were killed and 160 homes burned.
- On June 3rd Fulani herdsmen attacked the village of Tseadough , shooting residents in their sleep, killing 7 and kidnapping a pregnant woman.
The governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, calls the acts of violence a jihad and says that in his state alone there have been at least 492 killed as of the end of May. “It’s about jihad, it’s about taking over the land; it’s not about herders and farmers clashes,” he said. The extreme violence has gained worldwide attention as the Nigerian Catholic Bishop’s Conference calls for Nigerian President Buhari (himself a Muslim and ethnic Fulani) to resign.
Islam as the motivating factor behind the violence is largely ignored by authorities and instead the actions of Muslim Fulanis are falsely and simply attributed to unresolved disputes over land and agriculture. In fact, Nigeria’s Minister of Defense has publicly blamed Christians for the crisis, saying it stems from their refusal to accommodate their ‘fellow Nigerians’, religious liberty analyst Elizabeth Kendal reports.
Pray for the hard-pressed Church in Nigeria to walk steadfastly through these tribulations by keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith.
“We have left everything to follow You.” — Mark 10:28
6/23 — Pray for rapid healing for Pastor S. so he can return to his flock in northern Nigeria and ask God to comfort the families of the martyred Christian couple and young man aspiring to be a pastor.
6/24 — Pray that Christians in Nigeria will rely on the eternal truth of God’s Word to dispel all the lies of the Enemy.
6/25 — Ask God to use Christians to reach Fulani Muslims in Nigeria with the Gospel of grace and mercy.
6/26 — Pray that Christians in Nigeria will rest in the assurance of their salvation in Christ because of who Jesus is and what He has already accomplished at Calvary.
6/27 — Pray for the widows and orphans of martyred evangelists in our partner churches in Nigeria.
6/28 — Pray for the remaining Chibok schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram; pray for their reliance on Christ.
6/29 — Ask God to fill Nigerian Christians with a spirit of love toward their Muslim persecutors and Boko Haram.
6/30 — Pray for Nigerian Christians to abide in Him daily.