NIGERIA — When Pastor Andrew’s community in North East Nigeria was attacked by Boko Haram, he courageously chose to stay and rebuild his church. Now, there are more Christians in the community than before. Find out how Open Doors helped Pastor Andrew to impact his village despite the devastation.
“I went out and saw that some houses were on fire. We ran for our lives and went to hide at the foot of the mountain. We kept peeking out to see what was happening. We saw how they banged on doors of the church and the pastor’s residence and how fire was consuming the whole village.”
It was 2015 and the Pastor Andrew’s village in North East Nigeria was being attacked by Islamist extremists Boko Haram. He spent the night in hiding, praying that God would strengthen the faith of his scattered church members.
Returning to the village the next day, Andrew found that almost all their possessions had been stolen or burnt.
“All of our members houses were burnt – except for six that were not. How would people go back to their normal lives again now that they had become homeless? The persecution was so much that I never imagined that we would come together again to worship in the church. I thought that most of my members would leave for other churches and locations because of what we had experienced.”
Sadly this was not Pastor Andrew’s first encounter with extremists. He had survived a Boko Haram attack in his previous incumbency too and drew from that experience to bring encouragement to his church members.
“Because I had experienced that attack already I kept pursuing my members and encouraging them to come back to church and to rebuild their homes. I call some of the church members and we brought all our burnt zinc together with some sticks to make a worship place. Gradually those who had fled to Gombi starting coming back since they saw that people were returning and were rehabilitating.”
Open Doors has been standing with Pastor Andrew and the villagers of Guyaku providing emergency relief, trauma care and leadership training. The church has been rebuilt and the congregation is larger than it was before.
“God brought your organization at the right time. If you didn’t come I don’t know how our community would be – especially the church. Many who lost hope and had nothing were able to receive support and are back on their feet. After the attacks, you were the first to come and help each family with food aid. Not only did you give us food, but you also came to teach us about trauma healing. And besides the teachings, when we decided to rebuild our church you stepped in to help us. I am deeply thankful. May God bless you. May He grant you strength in your body and spirit. I am grateful.”
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.
- Global News Alliance, Nigerian Church Bigger Than Before Despite Extremist Attacks
- Open Doors UK, Official Website