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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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. ❤

Urgent Prayer Request: Please pray for Leah Sharibu.

As the only girl who was not released out of 110 young “Dapchi girls,” Leah Sharibu is still in Boko Haram captivity as of today, March 27th (source).

Her father, Sharibu Nathan, got the news that she was to be released on Saturday, but has since been waiting for her freedom (source). Both the media and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, wrongly informed the public of Leah Sharibu’s freedom, and later Idris defended his statement, explaining that the media misquoted him about the “Dapchi girls” (source).

At age 15, Leah is being held simply because she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus. Boko Haram members ordered her to recite the Islamic profession of faith, but she told them she didn’t know how to recite it, and that she was not brought up Muslim. Boko Haram said they would free her when she learned, and recited, the profession of faith (source).

USA Today reported that her father said this about her persecution: “My daughter is alive, but they wouldn’t release her because she is a Christian.” Alapade Agoro, chairman of a party in opposition to President Buhari’s political party, boldly insinuated that the

BRINGBACKLEAH

A picture of Rebecca Sharibu, Leah’s mother (on the left) and Leah. Photo credits: Kemi Filani blog

current Nigerian government and President had a bias toward helping Muslim girls (but had no real, true evidence to back up his claim). “It is obvious that the federal government negotiated to get the other (Muslim) Dapchi students released,” He said. “It has now become a crime to be a Christian in Nigeria,” USA Today reported (source).

 

Some may ask, “Why in the world would this young woman not just renounce her religion if it meant sparing her from pain and great potential harm?” This is a valid question. Most people would (and actually do) try to avoid suffering at any cost.

 

Could God have willed Leah to go through this extra time of pain? Is it God’s Will that Leah would suffer and be without her family & loved ones, in order to stay true to Him?

Many proponents and teachers of the Prosperity Gospel would say no. But the Bible says differently.

When trying to figure out the will of God in our lives, Christ brings guidance through the inspired words of the Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:2.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
(New International Version)

The pattern of this world says to that you’ve got to climb your way to the top. It tells you to be a good person, but to ultimately bite back in this Dog-eat-dog world.
It tells you to run away from all types of suffering and inconvenience, no matter what that means for anyone else. “Don’t feel like it? Don’t worry– what really matters is honoring yourself first.” It tells us to pursue passion, even at the expense of honor, as Elizabeth Elliot writes. It tells us to inflate our egos with knowledge, to wield power only full of human force, and to build our kingdoms made of sand as high as possible before the waves of death wash it all away.

This world tells us to follow our hearts. But again, the Bible says differently. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV).

Society tells us that if the majority of people agree to it and/or is doing it, that must mean it’s okay/true/acceptable.
But Jesus, in His great Love for us, says, “No, my child. Listen to and follow me.” Even when it means you are following Him, seemingly alone.

Leah, in the face of being completely alone, has not conformed to the pattern of this world. She has not held to the belief that lying to get out of suffering was the way to go. She, as a Believer, did not back down from her simple belief in Jesus as her Lord and Savior. And she found out His Will: “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God,” and “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12-13, ESV). Acts 14:22 does not say that going through trials is the way we are saved, but simply that trials are bound to happen in our walks with Christ. As much as it hurts– and pains our Heavenly Father– trials and persecution are valuable, and are apart of our lives as Believers in a fallen world.

Nathan Sharibu also told reporters, “…They told her they would release her if she converted, but she said she will never become a muslim. I am very sad, but I am also overjoyed because my daughter did not renounce Christ” (source).

Please, let’s pray, pray, pray for this beautiful daughter, sister, friend, and most importantly, Daughter of the King, as she experiences this horror. May Jesus show Himself faithful on her behalf!

This post is dedicated to all those who are currently suffering persecution of any kind. May Jesus strengthen you, encourage you, and faithfully lead and guide you down paths for His namesake. ❤


Do you know Jesus?

In our deepest, darkest suffering, the testimony of still holding on to Christ and proclaiming that He is good, even in our pain, can be nothing short of shocking to the world.

Perhaps you have somehow found yourself on this page, reading this blog post, and wondering, “Why would a 15 year old girl choose to remain so faithful to Jesus?”

Friend, let me tell you the truth, today: It is because Jesus is God, He is Risen and reigning, and is lovingly interested in and involved in every detail of our lives. To learn more about this living, intimate God, here.


Please pray (find the prayer sheet, here)…

  • for Leah. Please pray that she is protected by Jesus and His angels, and would continue to put her faith, trust, and hope in Christ as she experiences whatever she is experiencing.
  • That others would come to know of this, and would know more of what is happening in Northern Nigeria.
  • That the remaining Chibok girls would be released, in Jesus’ timing.

Thank you for your prayers!!! May Leah be taken care of!