“They snapped our photos and told us not to return to school, but I came back because I want to learn,” said Maryam, when asked about returning back to her school after being abducted by Boko Haram as a part of the “Dapchi schoolgirl kidnapping.”1
According to Maryam, Boko Haram took pictures of each and every girl they abducted, threatening to show up at their school and kill them if they returned to school.1 After having their pictures taken, Boko Haram members unusually dropped off all but one girl in their town. (In other situations, such as the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, this happened to none of the girls.)
What these girls have gone through is complete and utter hell. But even on the “outside” of captivity, life proves incredibly tough for these women, and others who have escaped or been freed from Boko Haram. Amnesty International has reported that Nigerian troops have perpetrated “vile abuse” on the women they have helped liberate and rescue; some women have been reported trading sex for food, while it has been reported that other women have been insulted and called “Boko Haram wives.”2 This kind of treatment is abhorrent.
Yet, the remarkable thing about these young women is how they, though they are victims, choose not to bow down to fear, current trials, or past tragedy. While there is much to fear—Boko Haram’s threats to kill them if they return to school are real—many students are not letting it keep them from doing what it is they want to do.
Though they carry around mental, emotional, and physical wounds, these girls do not let their fears of the future or the pain of the past define them. They resiliently press on.
How to Go On
But that does not mean that these girls are immune to fear. It can be easy to see these girls as tough and unbreakable; and that kind of tenacity is definitely seen in these beautiful young women. However, it is important to note that they are still human. Many of the girls, coming back to the school they were abducted from, were nervous, staying together in groups as they walk around campus, as All Africa reports.
It is important to see how these girls have found the strength to do such fearless things. Many girls cling to Jesus; they also cling to each other.
And as I am writing this, one thing becomes clear:
They need Christ, and they need each other.
Isn’t it the same with us? In conquering any fear, the key is knowing that we are not alone in that fear. That we have God, who Loves and Protects us as Sovereign over all; and we have each other to rely upon. This is how Christ created us.
With such faith in Christ first of all, and with a supportive community second, no one can get in these girls’ way. As Maryam so powerfully said, “I want Western education to improve my future. I came back to this school because I don’t want to change my environment. I have already started school here and I want to finish here.”
Through everything from Boko Haram captivity, to the oppression of evil soldiers and people in authority, the Love, Compassion, and Strength of Jesus Christ will see them through. May Christ deal with those who trample upon his precious creation; and may we find resilience and strength in Jesus and in each other, too.
Do you know Jesus?
God made us to know Him, and to know eachother. Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve both chose to partake of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the problem of sin entered this world.
Sin keeps us from knowing God, and from the true community we were meant to be a part of and enjoy. Yet, Jesus was the remedy to our sickness.
Learn more about Jesus, and how He came to fix this problem of sin, here.
Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for the blog post, here):
- The Chibok & Dapchi Girls. As these girls continue to go through hell on earth, please pray that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and would trust Him to heal and restore their lives. Find their names and pictures, here.
- These people have gone through unspeakable, horrific things. Things that deserve Justice. May Christ bring them Justice both on earth and in the life to come.
- The Nigerian military. The news that such revolting acts have been done by those in the Nigerian military shows that Justice needs to be served, and that the military must be changed!
Thank You for your prayers!!!