Nigerian Pastor Receives Trauma Counselling Following Family Loss

NIGERIA — In May 2023, Pastor Zachariah returned home to find his wife and son had been killed in an attack by Fulani militants. His home had also been burnt to the ground. To help him deal with his devastating loss, Nigerian Pastor Zachariah received trauma counselling and practical support from Open Doors partners.

It was May 2023. Pastor Zachariah had been away from home and was returning to his village in Mangu, central Nigeria. Unaware of a devastating attack that had taken place, he started noticing people fleeing in the opposite direction.

Pastor Zachariah:

Most of them were barefoot. Their bodies were covered with mud because they’d had to crawl to escape the attack. The closer I got to my house, the more I saw people with injuries and dead bodies beside the road. My house was completely burned down, including everything inside. I looked around the house to see if I could find my wife and son, but I couldn’t find them. Finally, I checked all the rooms inside my house and found their dead bodies in the kitchen area.

The attack on Pastor Zacharias’ village was one of several in the region that killed 125 people in a single week. The Fulani militants didn’t explain why they targeted the mostly Christian communities.

Pastor Zachariah:

My opinion of why we were attacked is that it was their wish for us to be converted to Islam, and they hoped that by chasing us away they would have more space to graze their cattle. When it happened, I felt like God had forsaken me. I began to think, if he’s the true God, then why did he allow them to attack us? Where was he? Where was God, why did he not take action?

Open Door’s partners invited Pastor Zachariah and other survivors to spend time at their trauma centre. There he could find relief from the many questions weighing on his mind.

Pastor Zachariah:

Truly if I hadn’t come for this training I think that life would have been very hard for me, because in the months before I went for the training I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts kept going back to the attacks, but after receiving the trauma care my mind is at rest. This teaching really has encouraged me, and they also taught us to forgive those who attacked us. I want to tell people who find themselves in situations like we’ve experienced, my prayer for you is that we should rely on God, because He is everything we live for.

About Open Doors UK

Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.

Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.

Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.

Read more news on Christian Persecution and Religious Freedom on Missions Box.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.