Written by: Open Doors
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Easter is probably the biggest highlight on the Christian calendar, with followers of Jesus around the world commemorating the pain He took to the Cross and the hope of His resurrection three days later. Unfortunately, this is also the most dangerous time of the year for Christians living in countries hostile to the Gospel of Christ.

However, the story of Easter is a reminder that the worst tragedy and hardships can be turned around through the love of Jesus. Charity, a Christian woman from Guyaku, Northern Nigeria, can testify of this as she continues to stand strong amid deadly persecution.

Rising violent persecution
Violence against Christians in Nigeria and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is rising at an alarming rate. Charity says: “Living in such a dangerous, volatile situation is exhausting – and nowhere is safe. In the north, Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram target churches, villages, and community leaders. Further south, Fulani militants are grabbing land and spreading terror.”

Attacks on Christians in Nigeria are indiscriminate and brutal. More than 4 500 believers were killed last year, thousands more were kidnapped, and hundreds of churches have closed. In fact, Nigeria moved up two places (to number seven) on the Open Doors World Watch List of the top 50 countries with the worst Christian persecution and is in the top position as the country with the most violent persecution.

Nigeria is the country in the world with the most violent persecution of Christians.

A night of terror
One terrifying evening, Boko Haram attacked Guyaku and set most of the buildings on fire. Charity, a single mum, gathered her three children and fled into the mountains. Behind them, militants were killing Christians and torching homes. During the panic and confusion, two of Charity’s children disappeared.

“The following morning, we went back to a scene of utter devastation. We lost everything. Almost every home had been looted and burnt, many believers were killed, and my children were still missing. The attack has put a wound on our hearts that will not be healed,” she said.

One can only imagine the anxiety and heartache of a mother not knowing where her children are.
But, just as Jesus could not be held in the tomb on the first Easter, so hope rises in the darkest places. Two weeks after the attack, Charity’s prayers were answered, and her two children were found after they were hiding in the woods. “It felt like a new dawn when my children were found. It has given me new hope for the future,” she said.

Rebuilding the village
Charity and some of the other people slowly began to rebuild the village. “God resurrected His church in our village and has given us new hope. Under a make-shift roof of burnt zinc, our congregation could worship again. Now we want to give back and help others impacted by persecution,” she testifies.

Open Doors helped this community
Thanks to the gifts and prayers of supporters, Open Doors helped this community with emergency relief, food, trauma counselling, and support to rebuild their village. This Easter, your support and prayers can also make a difference in the lives of our persecuted family facing the most violent persecution for their faith.
Through a gift of R150 today you can help to turn suffering into hope for our family of faith in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa. Your support will go towards much-needed trauma care, emergency relief, and discipleship training in the region – showing our family that even though they are persecuted they are never alone. Make use of the banking details below to give a gift today.

Geopende Deure – Open Doors NPC | Nedbank
Branch code: 198765 | Acc: 113 750 4552 (Business) | Ref: JE2204

Geopende Deure – Open Doors NPC | Absa
Branch code: 632005 | Acc: 160 340 568 (Current) | Ref: JE2204

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Date published: 03/18/2022

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