MAIDUGURI – Open Doors UK first met Esther (20) in a settlement for internally displaced people (IDP) in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria in 2017. Since then, layers and layers of her story have gradually been unfolding: her terrifying capture by Boko Haram in Gwoza, her three-year horror-filled captivity, her daring escape and the harsh judgment she and daughter Rebecca faced from the community and her family after their return.
A letter-writing campaign for Esther and Rebecca has been running for several months; Open Doors worker Hanna* visited her recently to deliver some of the letters we have received from supporters so far, including one from an unexpected and astonishing corner – a letter from UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Hanna says, “When I handed her the printed letter and explained who it was from, she kept looking at it in confusion, and eventually asked, ‘How does he know me?’
“‘Christians all over the world have heard your story and are so concerned about you. They are praying with you,” I explained. This caused her face to break out in a big smile as she held the letter tightly to her chest. It is impossible for me to describe the joy on her face as she read the letter, realising that people care so much about her.”
Esther immediately replied with a hand-written note:
“Dear Sir, I was shocked when the team visited me in Maiduguri to deliver a letter from you. I count it a privilege, thank you so much. God bless you in Jesus’ name. You care for me with words of encouragements. I feel loved. God bless you. Please continue to pray for me and Becky. Thank you and God bless you. Esther.”
But that was only the start. Hanna and the team had brought with them a huge bag full of your letters and cards!
She says, “As we handed her the bag of letters from supporters, [Esther] could hardly believe her eyes. ‘What’s this…’ she wondered, and then, ‘OHHH! Beautiful cards!’
For the next little while she kept opening the sealed envelopes to read her letters; Becky sat beside her, playing and eating her biscuits. Esther read the letters aloud and showed Becky some of the colorful drawings by the children. She was positively overwhelmed by the realization of the huge amount of care and love believers around the world have shown towards her.
About Open Doors UK
For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement and Christian Community Restoration.
To read more news on Persecuted Christians on Missions Box, go here.
- Global News Alliance, Nigerian Believer Esther Receives Unexpected Letter from UK Foreign Secretary
- Open Doors UK, Official Website