The People of Northern Nigeria: Fed, Clothed, Housed, Healed

Home.  I reflect on how many times I’ve longed for it in the past. As a child on her first day of school, scared; as a tired traveler, after a long road trip; as a distressed teenager, needing to be alone with the Lord in my room. I think of how many times I’ve come to my bed, my kitchen table, my sofa, to find rest and sustenance– both spiritually (bible studies, family prayer times, listening to the radio) and physically.  It is a word that conjures up images of comfort, safety, family, and even bonds to one’s personal identity.

Home is a place that houses the material possessions we hold dear– more than that, it holds our precious memories. Home is supposed to be a place where we can be our absolute selves, a place where we can “tell it like it is.” The thought and feeling of having no where to go at the end of the day can fill a person with a sense of worthlessness; It’s the thought that says, “I’ve got no where to go– nowhere that wants me, nowhere I belong.” To be violently pushed out of your earthly refuge can weaken one’s spirit in a way not much else can.

According to reports made by many different news centers in Nigeria, over 650,000 people have been displaced due to Boko Haram’s attacks on their villages, government institutions, and homes since last May. In particular, the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe State and the towns of Gwoza and Damboa in Borno State were seized by the Boko Haram in early August, after the Boko Haram were pushed out of their militant headquarters in Maiduguri. These raids have caused close to 6,000 fleeing men, women and children to be displaced into the surrounding states and capitols (see sources at bottom of article).

To respond to this surge of haggard, hurt, desperate individuals in their states and towns, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reported that emergency relief has been provided in the surrounding towns of Madagali and Mubi, with emergency relief attempting to be given to those displaced in the mountains surrounding Borno and Yobe state. Although attempts have been made, the Boko Haram’s violent and consistent activity in those areas make it almost impossible to provide any food, water, or relief for the people in brush and mountain regions. These people have gone over a week without food or water at a time, wasting away, terrified by the men waiting for them to leave their hiding places.

Elsewhere, Chibok girls who have fled the Boko Haram have reported being raped on their journeys back home, by men who’ve decided to ruthlessly take advantage of their desperate, vulnerable situations. As the UN has worked with these girls to reintegrate them into society, care packages called “Dignity Kits” have been provided to supply the girls’ basic needs, such as water and sanitary napkins. Additionally, health screenings have been set up have been set up to prepare for any more returning girls.

What is the reoccurring theme here? That men, women, and children who’ve called these places home have had their lives, their dignity, and their very basic necessities ripped away from them in petty acts of violence, both sexual and physical. What happens when every earthly image of comfort and belonging you have becomes suddenly non-existent? Suddenly forbidden to abide in?

The believer is reminded, in such a horrific time, that we ultimately abide in Christ. 

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7, ESV)

I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One… I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world.
I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. I pray that they may all be one.
Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me.
I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.
Father! You have given them to me, and I want them to be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory, the glory you gave me; for you loved me before the world was made.
Righteous Father! The world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you sent me.” (John 17:15-16, 20-25, GNT)

In a world where over 650,000 people– people with hearts, with dreams, with stories– are told they have no earthly home, they NEED to know the comforting truth: that there is a God who longs to be their home, no matter their earthly address.


Please pray with me, as this displacement continues, that first and foremost, these people would be touched by the love and complete security of knowing Christ as their Personal Lord and Savior during the darkest times of their lives. Pray that as they’d know Christ, they’d receive the supplies necessary to quench their hunger and thirst– spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Pray for those who are administering this emergency relief, that they’d be touched by the love of God and would share this unspeakable joy– even a midst sorrow– with those they are taking care of.
Pray that as hands are held, needs are provided, and hearts are heard, there would be healing and restoration happening in the people of Northern Nigeria. Pray that they’d find earthly shelter, refuge, and security– and that it’d ultimately bring them to find THE Home, Christ, so that none of them would be spiritually homeless.

Sources:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/boko-haram-takes-over-another-nigeria-town-witnesses-official-579765?curl=1408671738
http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/08/thousands-receiving-aid-boko-haram-siege/?
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/raf.planes.to.look.for.missing.chibok.schoolgirls/39823.htm?
http://www.punchng.com/news/boko-haram-overruns-police-academy/?
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/08/boko-haram-seizes-another-nigerian-town-2014821151552714624.html
http://www.punchng.com/news/un-rehabilitates-escaped-chibok-girls-2/
http://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/Nigeria-soldiers-mutiny-over-Boko-Haram/-/1066/2425838/-/j7dkcj/-/index.html?

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One thought on “The People of Northern Nigeria: Fed, Clothed, Housed, Healed

  1. Reblogged this on ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY and commented:

    Hi, friends. I have some important news.

    In case you haven’t heard, a new video from Boko Haram came out around a week ago.

    In it, 13 Chibok girls– along with at least two young children– sat before the camera, and told us, the public, something shocking.
    “We are the Chibok girls. …We are the ones you are crying about for us to come back. By the grace of Allah, we are never coming back. …These people are taking care of us and we are grateful to them. …We are happy here — we have found our faith.”

    Just like that.
    Just like that, everyone who has prayed, cried, fasted, marched, and rallied for their return– every mother and father holding on to their last bits of hope for their daughters– seemed to be silenced.

    And so was I. Until a few days ago.

    Honestly, just as I didn’t really process the news of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping the first time I heard it, I didn’t fully stop and process this news for a couple of days.

    But as I looked at that headline, there was sadness. “Really?” my brain thought. “They’re really going to refuse freedom like that? After everyone who loves them has tried so hard to get them free? …My Dear Jesus, please don’t let this be the Truth. Please.”

    Last night, I prayed… and words can’t really explain how I feel. There is a crying, a desperation for this to not be the Truth; for this to not be the end. Not the end of this blog, and certainly not the end for these still-captive young women– if not physically, anymore, then spiritually.

    As I prayed and struggled, Jesus prompted me to look at the very first blog post ever written on this blog.

    Guess what it was on? Home.

    It was on how, even in the midst of displacement and being ripped away from one’s home on this earth, the Believer knows that their true Home is found in Jesus.

    Through the tears, and through the pain, this initial blog post– written 3 1/2 years ago, by a person who I can safely say is pretty much entirely different than me, today– spoke to me. 

    It gave me Hope: that even if these beloved young women never make it out of Boko Haram’s clutches and return home, in a physical way, that Jesus Christ, the One and Only Lord and Savior of all (1 Timothy 4:10), is still able to save the men of Boko Haram, these precious women, and their entire families. He is still what true home looks like.

    “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’”
    (Deuteronomy 33:27, NIV)

    Because of this, I felt it apt to reblog this initial post, today. Because it’s words ring truer than ever: Jesus is Home.

    I can’t say with 100% certainty that I know exactly what the future looks like for this blog. But, I am seeking Christ in it. I ask that you, the amazing readers of this blog, please pray for me, for guidance, wisdom, and vision concerning what the future of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY looks like.

    No matter if this report is truth or not– and please be praying with me, that it is not the truth– these young women can still come to Christ. They can still truly come Home, to the One who loves them most. Let’s pray that they do.
    ____________________________________
    Do you know Jesus?

    “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life.”
    (1 John 2:23-25, NIV)

    Everyday, we make choices. Choices on what to eat, what to say, what to do, and perhaps most importantly, what to believe.

    It seems, right now, that the Chibok girls– much to our heartbreak– have chosen bondage instead of freedom. Harm instead of healing. Lies instead of the Truth. But everyday, we all do the same thing, if not to a much lesser extent.

    It’s painfully simple: Either we can choose to believe that Jesus is who He said He is– the One who took on our sin debt for us, and paid it in full– or not.

    We can stay in bondage, or be free. It’s all up to us– and to not make a choice for Jesus is to say “no.” I implore you, that if you are thinking about who Jesus is, and about if what the Bible says of Him is true, that you read here. Meet the One who came to save you. Believe, and say yes.

    Like

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