The Chibok Schoolgirl Kidnapping: 4 Years Later

Almost four years ago, I was grieved like never before for the plight of 276 schoolgirls from Northern Nigeria.

In an online devotional, I came across women who were praying mightily and fervently for the release of these girls—and I have been praying ever since.

Over the past four years, much has changed. Nigeria has gotten a new president; the Nigerian government has fought Boko Haram with noticeable success. But, for 112 of the kidnapped Chibok girls, and their friends and families, little to nothing has changed.

Many could have children, based upon video footage1; some have gotten married2. But, throughout all the changes, one disturbing, grieving thing has stayed the same:

As of today, 112 Chibok schoolgirls are still in captivity.

My devotional time with Christ brought me to read Isaiah 62-63, again. One of the very passages of scripture this blog hangs upon, it was more than a coincidence that this passage was right next to the passage of scripture I was going to read, today. As I read it, the reason for why I was even led to create this blog once again became clear to me.

“I’ve posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem.
Day and night they keep at it, praying, calling out,
reminding God to remember.
They are to give him no peace until he does what he said,
until he makes Jerusalem famous as the City of Praise.”
(Isaiah 62:6-7, The Message Version)

My heart was encouraged by this verse, as I continued to search the passage, remembering what Christ clearly promised me. I came to verses 10-12 of Isaiah 62.

Walk out of the gates. Get going!
Get the road ready for the people.
Build the highway. Get at it!
Clear the debris,
hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!
Yes! God has broadcast to all the world:
‘Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,
Ready to do what he said he’d do,
prepared to complete what he promised.”’
Zion will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed,
Sought-Out, City-Not-Forsaken.
(Isaiah 62:10-12, The Message Version)

To be honest, my heart is downtrodden, and a bit cynical, as I have watched day after day go by with little to no change in circumstances. But it is during these times that I understand my need for gratitude. Jesus has brought forth goodness, changed circumstances, and freed many, many people; He just hasn’t done it according to my will or time schedule. It is during these times that I am convicted of my own complaining.

These past four years have been incredibly difficult, but they have been highlighted with many victories. 164 Chibok girls have been freed, and are well on the road to healing, after all they have gone through. Some have even gone back to school—something that is nothing short of miraculous. Parents have stayed alive, and have watched their daughters come and hug them. Numerous people have surrendered this situation to Jesus’ control, and watched Him work in amazing ways.3

But yet, there is so much to still be done. So much to pray for. So much to hope for.

One of #BringBackOurGirls’ hashtags for this four year anniversary is “#HopeEndures.” Oh, how it does. True Hope endures only when our Hope is not in circumstances changing alone, but rather Hope in Christ– knowing that He is in control, and using all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Jesus is active, and moving in this situation, far more than we could ever possibly see. Though, in context, Isaiah 62-63 is about Israel, it can be applied to the situation concerning the Chibok girls. Isaiah speaks of a “day of vengeance” for the LORD in faith, as if it had already happened (though he was prophesying about an event that was going to happen in the future).

“…It was for me [the LORD] the day of vengeance;
the year for me to redeem had come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me,
and my own wrath sustained me.
I trampled the nations in my anger;
in my wrath I made them drunk
and poured their blood on the ground.”
(Isaiah 63:4-7, NIV)

It is Isaiah 62-63 that shows us a God who is not passively benign, but rather, is passionate, involved in our affairs, and bent toward making the evil injustices of situations such as these right, again. Though no one else seems to care for those who have been trodden on by the world, Jesus Loves them dearly, with perfect Love—and tramples the evil, disgusting people who have callously trampled them.

It is with Hope and Faith in this God that we look forward to each of these young women making it home—in Christ’s way and timing. Of course this day is a solemn, sad one, as we look at the many young women who are still not free. But, in this sadness, we can choose to look towards Jesus. Looking backward, we can see all Jesus has done; and looking forward, we can wait in expectant Hope to see all that He will do.four years

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His Love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). May the Truth of this statement spur us all onto trusting Jesus, keep us aware of the Chibok girls’ situation in Northern Nigeria, and keep us praying for their release—and the release of all those taken by Boko Haram. God is good; His Love will endure all things.

This post is dedicated to the women and children found and freed from prostitution as a part of the “Backpage” FBI investigation. May these women and children find ultimate freedom from their way of life, whether they were coerced into it or not, by coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

1 http://www.newsweek.com/were-never-coming-back-kidnapped-chibok-girls-say-boko-haram-video-781506

2 https://www.cnn.com/2016/08/16/africa/chibok-girl-amina-ali-nkeki-boko-haram-husband/

3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPa9nb4NAhE


 Do you know Jesus?

So many look at the goodness people do as an indication of where they will spend eternity, but this is just not the case. Salvation is not based on what we do– it is based upon what Christ did (Ephesians 2:8-9). No matter who you are, or what you have done, Christ wants you to know that if you believe in Him for the forgiveness of your sin, you will be saved (Romans 3:23; 10:10)!

Learn more about this God, who gives salvation and forgiveness so freely, and why you need Him, here.



Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet here)…

  • The Chibok school girls. Please continue to pray for their desire to be free, and for their release. You can find a list of their names and pictures, here.
  • The loved ones of the Chibok school girls. Please pray that Christ would give them strength, courage, and patience as they await their daughters’ homecoming.
  • Renewed interest in the Chibok girls. Pray that this world, especially today and in the days to come, would give these women and their plight the attention, prayer, and help they deserve.
  • The safe homecoming of Leah Sharibu. Sharibu is the only Dapchi girl not freed, only because she refused to renounce Christ. Please pray she is able to come home, soon.
  • Northern Nigeria as a whole.

 

Thank you for your prayers!! May the Chibok girls be home this time next year.

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Chibok Girls’ Kidnapping: 4 Year Anniversary

 

final bring

“My name is Esther Joseph. My daughter has not yet come back. I am in sadness. I need your help. Help me to keep praying.”
(Esther Joseph, mother of one of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls)

Unfortunately, it is the eve of the Fourth Anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping, and 112 girls are still in captivity. For the freed Chibok girls and those still held captive alike, tomorrow will no doubt be incredibly hard for everyone involved.

To honor these precious young women, I wanted to bring to readers’ attention a few creations I have found on the web, created to honor and bring awareness to the Chibok girls, while also asking for continued prayer for their release. (None of these links were agreed upon being featured here; I have decided completely of my own volition to feature them, and am not being paid in any way to do so).

  • Open Doors South Africa, a nonprofit created to support Christians who are currently undergoing persecution with prayer and advocacy, created this video for the fourth anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. In it, they record the people of Chibok, as well as interviewing a couple of the mothers of the Chibok girls. Watch the touching video on YouTube, here.
  • The New York times created an entire special on the Chibok schoolgirls who have been freed, called “Kidnapped as Schoolgirls by Boko Haram: Here they Are Now.” In it, many of the different, freed Chibok girls speak about their time out of Boko Haram captivity, and their lives now (they attend a university). Through and through, the special focuses on each girl: not as numbers, but as people, names and faces of those people Christ holds dear– all with some stunning photography. You can find the special here.
  • Lastly, the one schoolgirl from Dapchi, Nigeria who has not returned– all because she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus– has sent a message with one of the girls who were freed. According to Persecution.org, she told her mother not to worry, and promised that she will see her mother again– if not here, than in Heaven. Read her full message, here.

Again, none of these links were described for money; I simply felt they all honor and bring attention to the Chibok girls, as well as helping people to focus on them.

To learn more about Bring Back Our Girls and what the #BringBackOurGirls movement is doing for the 4-year anniversary, you can go to bringbackourgirls.ng, or go to the Bring Back Our Girls’ Facebook Page.

As always, thank you for reading– and let me know of any comments or concerns you have.

-Annalee, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY

 

April 2018: Where are we in the war to free the Chibok Girls (and those like them)?

With April 14th, 2018, coming up soon, I have created a facts sheet of where the Chibok girls’ situation lies, as well as to encourage prayer for them this week. To share this information by print and/or digitally, view, share, and download this flyer.

On April 14th, 2014, 276 women, ages 16-18, were kidnapped by Boko Haram, a muslim terrorist group. Four years later, here are the facts:

  • 164 of the young Chibok women have escaped or been freed.

57 of the Chibok girls were able to run away from Boko Haram members shortly after being kidnapped; afterward, one Chibok girl by the name of Amina Ali was found on May 17th, 2016. The Nigerian government and the International Red Cross freed 21 of the Chibok girls on October 13th, 2016, in exchange for four Boko Haram members (source). 82 more Chibok girls were freed on May 6th, 2017, in a negotiation by Mustapha Zanna, an ex-lawyer to the creator of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf (source). On January 3rd, 2018, Salomi Pogu, along with another kidnapped young woman (outside of the Chibok girls) Jamila Adams, was found by the Nigerian military, having escaped from Boko Haram with Jamila Adams.

  • 112-114 of the Chibok girls are still in captivity.

Counting up every instance of where the Chibok girls have publicly been freed, there is approximately 112-114 Chibok girls still left. Many women who claimed to be a part of the Chibok girls were seen in a video released in January of 2018, claiming that, concerning coming back home in freedom, “by the grace of Allah we are not coming back.” After much prayer and thought, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY was continued, seeking to be faithful to Christ in this particular situation. While these young women may be telling the honest truth, there is also a big chance that they were coerced into believing these things. Whatever the truth is, Christ can still do a miracle here, freeing these girls.

  • The State of Chibok, Nigeria

In 2016, BBC reported the state of those in Chibok, Nigeria—many of whom are waiting for their daughters, kidnapped by Boko Haram, to come home. One father, given the name Daniel to protect his and his daughter’s identities, said he called her mobile phone after she had been kidnapped; the person on the other end of the line was a member of Boko Haram, who said that the phone number belonged to his wife (source).

Even in the face of such tragedy, many of these people still keep up hope. “’I gave birth to that baby,’ one mother said of her kidnapped daughter to BBC. ‘Even if she comes to me with a gun in her hand, let her kill me, but I will still welcome her.’”

Now, it has been said in some reports that Boko Haram still has an enclave in Northern Nigeria, contrary to the claims of the Nigerian government, who has said that Boko Haram has been defeated in the Northern region of Nigeria (source). Still today, no one can know the truth, for sure.

  • What has happened to the freed Chibok girls?

Many of these freed Chibok girls have bravely gone to the United States in pursuit of higher education, while the majority of others have been undergoing psycho and social therapy, having been able to go and see their families only on a few occasions.

One Chibok schoolgirl, faced with the possibility of going back to Chibok, tried killing herself (source). Fortunately, she did not pass away from her attempt, and was only injured badly.

These girls, so easily identified by numbers alone, are real young women; each with their own abilities, skills, interests, and dreams.

Not only this; but there are still hundreds of people out there, waiting for their loved ones—the Chibok girls—to come back home. Each day, they wait; they hope; and they pray.

 

As long as these girls are not with their families, we will pray for them, too. Please join us, this April 14th, for a day of prayer for, and awareness about, the Chibok girls.

Because they are not just OUR girls… they are His.

To share this information by print and/or digitally, view, share, and download this flyer.

As of late, I have read this article, where Amina Ali Nkeki stated that she is “not afraid of Boko Haram,” because “they are not her God.” This young woman is so fearless! This post is in tribute to her. Please pray that Amina Ali Nkeki, the first Chibok girl who was freed, would trust in Jesus– and would be further down the path of healing mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually than ever.


Do you know Jesus?

3000 years ago, God became a Man. And because He knew that we would never be able to save ourselves, He gave Himself so that we could be saved– not based on anything we did, but solely based on accepting what He did.

Learn more about this Man, and how you can be saved by Him, here.



Please pray for (get the prayer sheet for this, here)…

  • The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. Leah is the only girl from the Dapchi school kidnapping who is still not home– all because she refused to renounce Jesus. Please pray that she would be able to be free, soon.
  • The families and loved ones of the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu.
  • For increased awareness of the plight of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu, this week. As we approach April 14th, please pray that Jesus would put the Chibok girls in the world’s spotlight; pray that the Nigerian government would not give up trying to save these women.
  • Amina Ali Nkeki. Please pray that she would trust Jesus, and would be more healed than ever.

Thank you for your prayers. ❤