Written by:  Open Doors SA
Article source: JOY! Magazine 

A new wave of terrorist violence in northern Burkina Faso is forcing persecuted Christians to flee from their homes. Violent Islamic militants have killed church leaders, kidnapped families for ransom, and burnt down churches and schools. The ongoing violence has caused hundreds of deaths since January 2019. According to the United Nations, a total of 289 000 people had to leave their homes and 2 024 schools have been closed.

Shocking persecution
According to the 2020 World Watch List, compiled annually by Open Doors to list the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted the most, Burkina Faso has risen faster and further than any other country on the list. This West-African country is now at number 28 on the list – a shocking 33 places higher than last year, when it was not even among the top 50. However, amidst this violence, God is answering the desperate prayers of Christians in Burkina Faso through the support of believers from around the world.

Naomi’s story
Naomi Zoré, a Christian woman, lived peacefully in a local village with her husband, pastor Eli, and their nine children. Their peace was suddenly shattered when the Christian community was attacked by Islamic terrorists. Naomi still recalls the day of the attack as a perfectly normal and peaceful Saturday.

“Eli had just prepared his sermon for the next day. Thereafter he visited his friend, who is also a pastor. We suddenly heard gunshots outside.” Naomi sheltered with her children. She told them to be calm and to start praying. “But I couldn’t pray. I just kept murmuring words and crying,” she said.

The shooting lasted two hours. Then her husband’s friend arrived and shared the shocking news with her – Eli was dead. He was killed in the street as he raced home to protect his family. Naomi and her children wept bitterly together. “At the age of 45, I was suddenly alone with my nine children.”

Open Doors stepped in
Naomi was forced to move to a camp in Kaya with her children. “Christians were kind enough to host us, but they did not have the resources to feed us.”

Open Doors was able to assist with food support, which has saved the lives of many in the region. A total of 560 extremely vulnerable families received maize, rice, and dry beans for two months.

Prayers answered
Pastor Samuel Sawadogo, who is responsible for people who’ve fled their homes, says God has answered his prayers through Open Doors. “I want to thank the Lord for the support given to displaced Christians in Burkina Faso.”

You can help
Today, you can help protect and support more widows like Naomi, whose husbands have died for Christ, by giving a Gift of Hope during their days of deep grief and uncertainty. A gift of R340 will provide one widow and her children with food and housing for a month, while a gift of R4 080 will do the same for a year. Your gift will mean the world to a persecuted widow and her family – please make use of the banking details below or visit opendoors.org.za for more information.

Open Doors

Open Doors | Nedbank | Branch code: 198765
Account: 113 750 4552 (Business) | Reference: JE2004

Open Doors | Absa | Branch code: 632005
Account: 160 340 568 (Current) | Reference: JE2004

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Date published: 17/03/2020
Feature image: © 2020 Open Doors International

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