“Be the Church”: How to Help Northern Nigeria

It has been reported that the new president of Evangelical Church of Winning All, Reverend Stephen Panya Baba, told those listening to his inauguration speech that many women and children are being left as widows and orphans by Boko Haram now more than ever.

While this is not necessarily surprising or new news, it is something greatly disconcerting. Reverend Panya Baba called on the Nigerian government to help those orphaned and widowed by Boko Haram’s violence; however, Christ calls all those who are Christians not only to go to church, but to be the church: to love, serve, and support those who need it most.

As James 1:27 says,

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)

We have further commands concerning serving the poor and disenfranchised in places like Proverbs 14:31.

“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (ESV)

HOW TO HELP

The fact that we are to help those who are in need is written all over the Bible; but the question is, how can we help those in such a place as Northern Nigeria? While there are many reasons for why sending money straight to Nigeria might be a bad idea (it’s no secret that Nigeria is very corrupt), it does not mean that giving and helping are not things we should do. Rather, it only means that more homework must be done when attempting to help give to the different needy.

Desiring to help these people, I did a lot of research and found some reputable nonprofits that are helping either directly or indirectly with the need found in Nigeria. You can find this resource here.

donate

Are you wondering how else you can help? The most powerful thing we can do is pray for these people. Share the story of the Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, and the Boko Haram insurgency with anyone you can—and ask that others would pray as well.help

With prayer and wisely giving of our finances, time, and advocacy, much can happen. If anyone has ideas or insight into different organizations that can help those in Northern Nigeria, please let us know! Any help is welcomed 😊

Thank you!


Do you know Jesus?

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

While we may feel helpless, Jesus is our sure Help. Learn more about this beautiful, amazing God, and how He has helped us, here.


Please pray for (find the prayer sheet for this post, here):

  • The Chibok girls. Find their names and pictures, here.
  • Leah Sharibu. Please pray that Jesus brings her home safely, soon.
  • That the church in Northern Nigeria would be able to help those in need. Pray that they would be blessed financially and materially, so that they would be able to bless those who need it.
  • Those being hit worst by Boko Haram’s violence. This includes those who are sick and displaced by Boko Haram.

Thank you for your prayers!!! 🙂

 

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He Will Provide

Twenty-one. Twenty-one people, no longer on this earth. It was reported Monday that because of Boko Haram violence, twenty-one people lost their lives1. Whether shot, or blown up by a landmine, these are people who will never see the light of day on earth, ever again. Continue reading

Focused Prayer: The Captive Chibok School Girls

Hi Friends and Readers of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY,

If you have read this post, you will know that one reporter, Ahmed Salkida, has reported that only 15 of the 112 still-captive Chibok girls are still alive.

Such a prospect fills me with grief; and it is during times such as these that I ask you all to please join me in prayer that focuses on these young women. Whether there are actually 15, or there are 112, I ask that we focus upon their freedom– that we would pray for a breakthrough for these young women (I ask that we would include Leah Sharibu, of the #DapchiGirls, as well).

Will you join me? You can go here to look at the girls’ names and pictures as you pray, if you would like. Please let me know of anything you find/discover in prayer; please also let me know of any comments, concerns, or prayer requests you have!

Things start changing when the church starts praying. Let’s lift up these precious young women to Christ, shall we?

“Indeed, when the women are not free, the society cannot claim to be free.”
–Dare Babarinsa



Do you know Jesus?

Learn more about this God who died to set us free– and what He has freed Believers from– here.


Please pray with me (find a prayer journaling sheet, here)…

Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank You, and praise You, that You have won the war on sin, guilt, shame, and death by Your sacrifice on the cross. We thank You for every Chibok Girl, both freed and still held captive. We pray, in Your glorious, amazing Name Lord Jesus, that You would show Your Power, Goodness, and Wisdom in each of these girls’ midst. Please bring Truth, Power, and Breakthrough that only You can, Lord Jesus. May each of these young women be freed. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!”

“Rejoice Always”: Hope, 4 Years On

Friends and Readers,

Thank you for spending your time today, reading this blog, and praying for the many people it advocates for.

For obvious reasons, today is a sad and solemn day. For those of you who do not know, as of today, it has been four years since the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. 276 innocent young women were kidnapped and condemned for simply going to a school that was deemed “sinful” by Boko Haram (their name in Hausa, the local language in Northern Nigeria, means “Western Education is sinful.”)

Over these past four years, approximately 164 of the young women were either freed through negotiations, or made their way out themselves. This is a cause for beautiful celebration. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

On Envy & Bitterness

Proverbs 13:12 wisely says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Oh, how true this is, in so many ways. I think we all know the feeling of wanting something so much—and then having it removed from our grasp, held just inches away from us as we strive and stretch for it with all of our might. As we stare at this Hope we have had, just outside of our reach, our hearts adopt a feeling of deep, deep grief. It threatens to consume us whole; and we seemingly cannot help but nurse the ache within us.

So much of this is unfortunately true for the Chibok girls, and those like them—people who have had their freedom, happiness, and lives as free men ripped away from them.  The Humanitarian Aid Group “Doctors Without Borders” had to leave the area in Rann, Nigeria, because of Boko Haram terrorism, temporarily leaving desperate families in the region without aid.1 It has been two weeks since the Dapchi girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram2; meanwhile, the Chibok girls who have been found/freed are facing extreme stigma and obstacles to reintegrating into society3. These young women represent thousands of other people kidnapped and harmed by Boko Haram: people who are being failed by their own government, and people who are being mercilessly kicked while they are down.

Is there no respite for these people? Is there no Justice, no relief, no refuge for these victims of such brazen crimes?

It’s easy, under these circumstances, to fall into hatred, resentment, and bitterness about the failures of those around these people. Having a hope deferred is something that is not foreign to me. I know full well that, out of having a Hope deferred, resentment and even envy can rise up within my own heart towards those who seem to have the very thing I feel I need—and I would venture to say that this is a common, human problem (at least, I hope it is!).

Though, no matter how common or understandable this phenomenon of resentment & envy may be, it does not take away the truth that it is evil and sinful. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (v. 4). While jealousy and envy are not the same thing, they go hand in hand. Jealousy, wrath, and anger are three very harmful things (Proverbs 27:4). Envy is the result of idolatry in our hearts; it’s for this reason that God forbids us to “covet” in the ten commandments (Exodus 20:17).

What’s more, we believe that if we hang on to resentment, we are holding whatever/whomever has caused us pain hostage until “they pay up.” This is a lie that only keeps us in a place of bitter pain—and causes much more bitter pain for others. “Hurt people hurt people,” as the old adage says.

How to Overcome It

We all get it. Jealousy and envy are bad, and incredibly damaging to our souls, lives, relationships, and most importantly, our relationship with God. But, as Proverbs 27 expresses, it can seem unescapable and consuming. How can one fully honor and obey Christ, even when everything within them screams no?!

Truthfully, the lie of envy and resentment usually (if not always) says, “God is not good,” and, at times concerning envy, “He is holding out on me.” These two lies are the source of all anger, resentment, and envy. But, when we come and surrender to Christ, He is the One who changes our desires where necessary, and helps us through.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, NIV)

I admit that I just said about Christ helping us through sounds very trite. Yet, it is nonetheless true. When we feel alone, it is Christ who says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5-6) [source]. When we feel we are in lack of something, it is in turning to Jesus that we are reminded, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1, NIV).

When we come to Christ with our resentment– with how we honestly feel that He is holding out on us– Jesus breaks down this lie– and free us from the resentment, anger, and disappointment we may poignantly feel. It is Jesus’ Will not that we stay locked up in a bitter, envious, angry darkness that “rots the bones,” as Proverbs 14:30 says; but that we come to the Light, to Him for healing. It is there that we will receive His counsel, His rebuke where necessary, and His comforting strength that points to our idolatry and heals the deeper, harmful lie we have been holding on to in our heart of hearts. It is this place that Jesus wants to heal and bring restoration to—even if the only way for it to ever come up is to recognize our intense bitterness.

It’s true. This world is full of evil; and, as such, hurt and broken people can become very bitter and resentful toward whatever has caused them their pain, even becoming bitter toward life itself.

The people, especially the women, of Northern Nigeria, have a lot to resent and become bitter over. They have seemingly been left alone, unaided, shamed and stigmatized for something that was never their fault to begin with.

But we all know that nursing bitterness and envy only creates a vicious cycle of violence and decay, in every sense of the word. So, may these women, in their desperation and pain, come to Jesus for healing only He can provide. May we all.



Do you know Jesus?

God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

Do you want God to be with you—to never leave or forsake you? It’s true that God is omnipotent; and therefore, He is always with us. But it is a different matter to know Jesus personally—and to know that He will never, ever leave you, no matter what.

Learn more about Jesus—this God who wants to have a personal relationship with you, personally—here.


Please pray for (print out a Prayer sheet, here)…

  • The Dapchi girls. Just like the Chibok girls, these 110 young women were kidnapped two weeks ago from Dapchi, Nigeria. Please pray for them to be rescued and freed, soon.
  • The Chibok girls. Please pray for their soon return!
  • For the Chibok girls, and other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, struggling to be reintegrated back into society. Pray that walls would be broken, and that Jesus would bring these young women to Himself, and that they would experience liberation.
  • That “Doctors without Borders” would be able to return to Northern Nigeria, especially Rann, to continue to give humanitarian aid to those who are desperate.
  • That those who resent others in their lives would find freedom in forgiveness, as they bring it to Christ.
  • Reflect: Where are you harboring envy, jealousy, or resentment? Submit to Jesus and ask Him to heal those parts of your life, today.

Thank you for your prayers

1 https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/03/590550649/aid-group-pulls-out-of-nigerian-town-following-deadly-suspected-boko-haram-attac

2 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/photos-dapchi-escapees/

3 https://qz.com/1220746/boko-harams-kidnapped-girls-turn-accused-on-returning-home-in-nigeria/

 

Changes Are a Comin’

Hey friends!

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
(Matthew 6:5-15, NKJV)

“It’s not about the eloquent words– but about the prayer itself.”

This is something Jesus has been teaching me, as of late– especially regarding this blog. A few days ago, as I sat with Him in the quiet, my focus concerning this blog was re-oriented; and with it, Jesus gave me some great ideas to initiate here on ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY.

He led me to focus more on this blog’s purpose, in the beginning, and to really go after it (as taken from the blog’s “About” page):
1) To continue to pray for the girls’ safe release from these Boko Haram camps,
2) To continue to be updated/ update others on the state of this situation, the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole,
and 3) To, as Isaiah 62:6-7 states, advocate for the Chibok girls, as well as to encourage world-wide prayer for the state of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria, and all of Nigeria’s kidnappees so that other believers may “have no rest, and give the Lord no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the Earth.”

Because of this, I have decided I wanted to start these things:

  1. More prayer-focused resources for you, the reader. Instead of just writing about the Chibok girls, Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram, displaced peoples, those fighting Boko Haram, etc., I want to help you, the reader, have a more precise, straightforward, practical aid in praying for all the topics mentioned above. Part of this includes “Prayer Points” with each post: printable PDFs or Word Documents regarding the different prayer requests brought up in each blog post, so that you can be aided in praying for the things mentioned, as you are led. This could also include different resource pages, as well as updating and improving current resource pages (like The Names & Pictures). These printable “prayer points” could be done weekly, but I am not sure about that yet, as things like that can easily become legalistic for me.
  2. More posts just focused on the Chibok girls and their situation. News about them can be written about more frequently, like the fact that many Chibok girls are now going to school! I would like to write more about them explicitly, and ask prayer for them in a more detailed manner.
  3. I have edited/polished the “Do You Know Jesus?” Page. I wanted to keep this more up to date, reading as excellently as possible (and prayerfully, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing people to Jesus!).
  4. I have decided that I want the month of March to be especially dedicated to praying for the Chibok girls. More details about this, soon.
  5. I want to further encourage prayer for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls specifically, so I will be posting a page/post on a group of Chibok girls readers can pray for, weekly.
  6. To let my local community know more about the Chibok schoolgirls, and to encourage prayer and advocacy for them, I may try to put together an art show for the art I have created that surrounds them. We will see; I would need lots of help, but I want to make good on this! 🙂
    contact final

    A portion of a piece of art I have created, Untitled, concerning the Chibok girls, and stating Bible Verses Christ has given me about their release.

    7. may change the blog’s overall theme! I am not 100% on this yet, but it’s an idea.

 

What do you guys think of these changes? Readers, I need your help!!! Do you have any other ideas for this blog? Any compliments/constructive criticism about it?? I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your prayers, and for reading what my silly heart and mind have to say! I love and appreciate you all! 🙂