GUYAKU, NORTHERN NIGERIA — Support from Christian charity Open Doors is helping believers like Charity from Nigeria. She was able to receive trauma healing after her village, Guyaku in northern Nigeria, was attacked by Islamic militants Boko Haram. And now, she herself is shining a light for others who have suffered trauma by offering them counselling.
In February 2015, Charity’s village in North East Nigeria was attacked by Islamic militants Boko Haram.
“It was evening and I was taking my bath in the bathroom and my children were watching television. Then my brother came running saying ‘Turn off the light! Turn off the light!’
“And I heard someone saying, ‘They are burning Guyaku. Guyaku is one fire. So I tied my wrapper and ran out, picked up my baby, put her on my back and left.”
Theophilus – Charity’s Son:
“I was scared. I thought that we wouldn’t survive. Then I grabbed my sister’s hand and we ran.”
But as the family fled into the night, they became separated from each other.
‘“We ran far that night. We didn’t turn back until we met with our neighbours under the mountain. Then we kept walking together to a town.”
“I ran and found a cave. We went in, sat down and kept quiet. I thought I would hear my children moving around but I didn’t. I called their names, no answer. Then I thought to myself: ‘I don’t know if my children have been killed.”
In the days that followed families who had been separated during the attack began to be reunited. But there was still no sign of Charity’s missing son and daughter.
“My mind wandered afar. I was out of my senses. And I was thinking if I drink this water and eat this food and my children are dead, of what use is this food to me? One day passed, two days passed, three days, one week. I didn’t see my kids.”
Then Charity received a call: her children had been seen in a town some distance away.
“When we met there were tears of joy, because we didn’t think we would meet again. So we cried because we had missed each other.”
“Seeing them felt like a new dawn. Everything changed because my lost children were back.”
Though the family was now reunited, they had been traumatized by the attack and its effects. Relatives had been killed, homes and crops destroyed – and they were worried they could be targeted again. But through Open Doors partners, they received trauma care and Charity was later trained how to help others too.
“I am saying ‘thank you’ to those who put their heads together and invested in sending you people to come and teach us about trauma. I spoke with a young girl and asked her why she was always on her own – and she started crying. Then I asked her if she could tell me why and she started drawing a picture of a gun. And she said that if she was accepted into the army right now, she would kill all the Boko Haram immediately.
“Then I said to her, ‘That’s right we too got into this problem. But Jesus taught us that we should forgive them. The trauma healing has really helped us to learn how to forgive and let go of anger. It has given us hope for life in the future.”
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 Mother Gives Trauma Counselling to Forgive Attackers
- Open Doors UK, Official Website