IMPORTANT NEWS! Maryam: The Story of Redemption & Restoration

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:9-10, NIV)

Jesus has a passion for every single person (John 3:16). He desires that all of them come to know Him as their Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:9). Christ’s deep Love is for each and every individual person, no matter who they are, what they have been through, or what they have done.

Over two years ago, 276 young women were kidnapped, in the dead of night, by Boko Haram. Though it sparked a worldwide campaign, called #BringBackOurGirls, it has not been until recent months that 24 young women were freed/escaped Boko Haram captivity. This is one of the amazing, precious young women, dearly loved by Jesus, to be freed.

But, while there is rejoicing over her physical release, there is even greater rejoicing, in heaven, over those who have been spiritually freed.

Please pray for Maryam, that she would know Christ, and would be completely and totally freed, by knowing Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Christ does not just care about numbers; in fact, Christ does not look at the outer shell, at all. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He Loves You, personally, and passionately.

To learn more about the God who Loves YOU personally, please click here.


Important News:

It has been announced, with great, amazing, unspeakable joy, that one more Chibok schoolgirl has been freed!

chibok-girl-maryam-ali-maiyanga

Maryam Ali Maiyanga, and her 10-month-old, Ali, after being freed from Boko Haram captivity (source).

Maryam Ali Maiyanga has been found, and freed, by the Nigerian government, on Saturday, November 5th, 2016!

Troops found Maryam, and her 10 month-old son, Ali, as they were screened after escaping Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest, in Pulka, Borno State with help from the Nigerian military. Though the Chibok girls were the most high-profile case of Boko Haram’s kidnappings, Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds– maybe even thousands– of men, women, and children from their homes, keeping them under lock and guard for years. Many, seemingly including Maryam, are either already muslim, or have converted to Islam in Boko Haram captivity– which may be out of fear, or brainwashing.

Maryam’s 10-month-old son, Ali, was claimed to have been fathered by a Boko Haram commander, whom she was either “married off” to, or coerced into having sex with. The child looks well, and will no doubt receive medical care, along with Maryam, from the Nigerian government.

Some of facts may seem horrific… but, while the trauma caused by these events remains, Maryam is physically freeand that is a cause for celebration.

While this is an amazing, joyous event, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10, NIV). If there is rejoicing over this young woman’s physical freedom, think of the rejoicing over her spiritual freedom, as she comes to Christ!

Jesus has freed many, both physically and spiritually, from the clutches of Boko Haram, and islam. Jesus is in the business of redemption, and restoration!!! Praise Him!!!

There is still much to be done. This young girl, along with countless others, still has much healing to experience. But, let’s praise Jesus for all He has done, is doing, and will do, in the hearts of captives, refugees, Boko Haram members, and the Nigerian military.

Please pray  that Maryam would come to know Jesus, and receive true healing!



Please join me in prayer:

Dear Jesus,

I praise You, that each and every person on this Earth, right now, matters deeply to you– not to mention those who have passed away, and those who you know are still to be born (Psalm 116:15; 139).

Jesus, we thank You for Your amazing, amazing Love. Thank You for looking at all of us, and declaring us worthy to die for, so that we might be with you, forever.

Dear Jesus, You know Maryam Ali Maiyanga . You saw her, being formed in her mother’s womb, before she was even born. You foresaw every day of her life.

You knew she would be kidnapped, taken, from her family, her loved ones, and her home, to experience the immense bondage perpetrated by Boko Haram.
But Jesus, we know that You are bigger than even the most wicked, deplorable evil. We know that Your Love, shown to us in Yourself on the cross, can break into even the hardest, evil, darkest heart– or the most wounded, broken, confused of hearts– and bring them to truly know You.

Dear Jesus, I pray in Your Name that You would release Maryam from any and all bondage that she is left in. Dear Jesus, please show Maryam that true freedom is found in YOU– and that she only needs to accept Your free gift of Salvation to experience true healing, breakthrough, and a personal relationship with You, God Himself.

Jesus, we pray over the army commander that fathered Maryam’s child. If he is still alive, and wherever he is, please break through his heart, and show him what truly pleasing you looks like: loving you, and loving others. I pray for new, eternal life even for this man, and for all members of Boko Haram.

Jesus, I also pray over Maryam’s son, Ali. 
Dear Jesus, I pray that, though this little boy was born under horrific circumstances, You would restore and redeem his life, to bring you glory and praise. Please bring this young, little guy to you, and show him, and everyone around, that he is not only identified by his past or even this tragic state of affairs– or even by the fact that his father’s blood flows through his veins– but that his identity lies in and by YOU, and the fact that we are all COMPLETELY new creations in You, with Your blood flowing through our spiritual veins, when we accept You into our lives and hearts, as Lord and Savior.

Please, dear Jesus, show Yourself in this situation to Maryam, and to everyone, around her. I thank You for this, Father God. 

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Please continue praying for Maryam, her family, and her story. Please also pray for the Nigerian military, and for their continued success!

Thank you!

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The Baga Massacre: A Voice for the Voiceless

As of today, January 21st, 18 days have passed since the town of Baga, Nigeria was razed, where 2,000 of it’s innocent men, women, and children were mercilessly massacred. As Boko Haram’s bloodiest raid to date, most of its victims were women, children, and the elderly who could not escape the terrorists’ rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles. As people ran, swam, and hid for their lives, thousands upon thousands drowned in nearby Lake Chad, where the body count was so high that soldiers stopped counting.

Continue reading

Giving Back their Names: Getting to the Heart of the Story

After reading horrific news reports surrounding the lives of 219 girls from Chibok, Nigeria– and countless more, from all over both the Northern and Southern regions of Nigeria– I am filled with an angry, bitter grief.

Continue reading

Called to Be Free: Lifting the Veil of Islam

As discussed in this article, the Chibok girls’ abduction has become a symbol of fundamentalist Islam’s fear of educating women. This fear stems from the fact that educated women are harder to control– and in a religion like Islam, where it’s success is based upon how much oppressive control it has on it’s people– the idea of women being less dependent upon the controlling men in their lives is hugely threatening. Continue reading

Freed Indeed: Liberty from the Trauma

As I read this article, my heart went out to those who have escaped the hands of the Boko Haram, but who have not yet escaped the clutches of fear, horrific flashbacks, and evil memories.

These girls need to be truly free; they need to live lives void of the fear of such a terrifying experience as being in captivity. Christ speaks of such a life in John 10:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)

This kind of life can only be found in knowing Christ. Christ doesn’t want to be apart of one’s life; He wants to change people’s whole lives and identities. Where there was once bondage to sin, shame, and death, He wants to grant true, light, victorious freedom to His people– He wants sons, not slaves.

“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36, NIV)

As stated above, it is only in Christ that these young women can be free. It is only in and through faith in Christ that these girls’ traumatizing experiences can be healed, and their lives restored. But, what happens when this doesn’t happen quickly, but over painstaking amounts of time? What happens when everything in the world makes it look like Christ is not at work?

We must, after everything, put on the armor of God and stand firm, as Ephesians 6:13 exhorts. We must remember that Christ’s timing is not our timing (2 Peter 3:9), and that “…there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him” (Ecclesiastes 8:6, “for” omitted). Yet, in the midst of all this standing and persevering, it’s even more important to remember that Christ is a compassionate God who considers His people His friends: “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b, NIV). Knowing that we are God’s friends allows us to “cast all [our] anxiety on Him, for He cares on us” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Truly, these girls do not need to be heavy laden. In Christ, the burdens of their painful past can be lifted. In Christ, they can find true rest.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

It is also important to remember that Christ sees their burdens, whether they bring them to Him or not. The same kind of distress these people have experienced was experienced by Israel during their exile in Babylon. Israel was destroyed; their walls were in shambles, and the people were in Babylonian captivity. During such times of loss, it was almost impossible to keep in mind that Christ was for His children, and knew their plight. Yet, these very truths were all affirmed in Isaiah 49:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your (ruined) walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16, “ruined” mine)

The girls who are now in physical freedom must be free spiritually, mentally, and emotionally by Christ from the bondage of their past terrifying experiences. They need to know that just like Israel, they have not been forgotten– and that Christ is near to them during such horrible times. These girls need to find rest in the arms of Jesus, both inside and outside captivity. For these reasons, we pray.


Please pray for these beautiful people, that as they continue on in their normal everyday lives, that the Lord would show Himself to them through any and all means, that they may know Him. Pray that as they know Him– and only as they know Him– their minds and hearts would slowly (but quite surely) be healed of the trauma they’ve experienced. Pray that as they continue to seek the Lord, He’d use these horrible experiences for good, as He has promised:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

Amongst these things, also pray that the men, women, girls and boys still in captivity would be used to bring their captors to Christ, and would be favorably treated while in captivity. Pray that they’d be out of captivity, and back with their families, soon.

Let the restoration, strengthening, and healing of these beautiful, invaluable hearts and minds begin.

Quick Post: Rest.

Tonight, looking at news updates on the ceasefire deal announced Friday (and the violence that has continued on since then, jeopardizing the deal), I became tired. Weary. Frustrated. Skeptical. Worried.

What are we, as believers in the words and promises of God, to do when everything around us seems to ask why God is so fickle?– or, on a more sickening, cynical, unbelieving level, why God is so cruel?

I’ve had a longer, more polished post drawn up for a few days now, and I’ve been struggling with finishing it. It’s called, “6 Months Later: A Reason For Hope.”

I know what my reason for hope is. I know where– and who in– my hope is found. Yet, the words don’t seem to come. And the thoughts of worry, of doubt, of inadequacy, of fear, linger and creep in, making my heart flutter, haunting the words I mean to say and trying to silence me.

But you know what? I refuse to let the enemy kill my joy. I refuse to let him take over what should be a blessing and an encouragement, making it stressful and tiring.
Tonight, in the midst of the utter chaos that surrounds these abducted girls,
In the midst of the pain that comes with knowing that these beautiful young girls and women need to spend one more night away from their families and loved ones,
In the midst of the weariness that comes with not knowing when this pain will end,

I will trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I will go into His temple. I will meditate on His love for me (Psalm 48:9).
I will meditate on how he’s lifted me out of every miry pit I’ve ever fallen into– or dug myself, inviting in (Psalm 40:2).
I will think on these things. And, in the midst of such love, such peace, such grace,
I will believe with all my heart that He is never slow or careless when it comes to fulfilling His promises (2 Peter 3:9).
I will praise my God, whose love is unfailing (Psalm 36:5-7; Psalm 56:9-13).

Lord Jesus, I praise you for releasing the 50 some girls that have escaped from the Boko Haram so far.
I praise you for strengthening them according to your steadfast love.
I love you and thank you for providing these girls with people to share their stories with. For providing them with just enough food and water to survive. With just enough strength and determination to reach a refuge. For always being their refuge, even among their pain and suffering.
I thank you for choosing me. For choosing me, for choosing this young child, to hear your heart for these girls. To hear your voice speak these bold promises, full of love and redemption and hope, over such a hopeless situation. Forgive me for being unfaithful in doing what you’ve called me to do– to devote myself to prayer for these girls, and to proclaim these promises to others as well, asking them to join in prayer and support for the abducted girls, for Norther Nigeria, and for Nigeria as a whole. I praise you for being faithful even when I am unfaithful. And I thank you for keeping your watchful eye on these beautiful girls, showing them such favor as to start negotiations, strengthening the Nigerian army to fight against the darkness that holds them, and to cause your people to cry out to you for them.

You are strong and mighty to save.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Your promises for these girls ring true, everywhere in your word.

“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” (Proverbs 11:21, NIV)

I can rely upon Your Word and Your Promises.

“Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89, NIV)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

Tonight, I will rest in the fact that He is God. Period.
That, no matter what, He is good. Loving. Beautiful.
That redemption and salvation are coming, and it will be glorious.

Tonight, let’s praise, hope, and rest in our God, praying that He grants us the blessing of seeing these girls free soon. Pray for their continued protection; pray for their favor under the rule of the Boko Haram. Continue to pray for the BH leader, Shekau: that He would believe in Christ Jesus and know Christ’s peace that surpasses every understanding there is. Pray that the people of Nigeria would run back to the Lord. That they’d find rest in the shadow of His wings as they trust in Him as their Lord and Savior (Psalm 56:13).

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)

 

A Quick Update

Hey, beloved people! Thanks for reading through this blog and continually having those in Nigeria on your hearts and minds in prayer to our Lord.

At this point, I have no new updates about Daphne’s medical situation (for those reading for the first time, Daphne’s situation is unrelated to that of the Chibok Girls, but it is VERY dear to my heart, and so I asked for prayer. For information on who Daphne is and her story, read here). In prayer, the Lord brought to mind her ex-boyfriend, whom I’ll call W, as well as her mother, father, sister, and close friends, all of whom, to my knowledge, do not know Christ. Please be praying that the Lord would use this horrible pit to soften their hearts to His gospel, convict them of their sin, and bring them to Him– whether for the first time, or to know Him once again– in all, to know the wonderful reconciliation of accepting Christ as their Personal Lord and Savior. Pray that as they accept the Lord into their hearts, He’d give them such peace, such revelation, and such comfort and transformation that it would completely change their attitudes towards the things of Him, themselves, each other, and this world. Pray they’d experience His nearness. That they would see His sweetness, His raw, “I’m not leaving you here” love, His kindness, His mercy– and that it’d bring them to Himself. Pray that He’d work in and through them to proclaim His praise. For, no matter who they’ve been, “…God’s kindness is intended to lead [people] to repentance[.]” (Romans 2:4b). 


Bracelet-making update: Along side using alphabet beads to spell out the messages of these bracelets– those being “Hephzibah: My Delight is in Her,” “Isaiah 62,” and “Bring Back His Girls” or “BBHS” — I’ve started to use small, ceramic square beads to write out the messages as well. 

 As promised on the Bracelet page of this blog, I’m posting many pictures of them below. Though these bracelets are ultimately not about fashion or style, the ceramic bracelets look more grown up, have allowed me to paint them more uniquely and thoughtfully, and allow me to say more on each of them.

The Lord has completely blessed me with being able to thoughtfully create such beautiful things for the people of Nigeria. Please be praying that as I continue in doing the Lord’s work, He’d open up doors to those in my community and church to help me create, as well as share, the bracelets with the world around us. Also pray that I’d have much guidance, clarity, and confirmation on what the Lord’s will is concerning how I proceed in this. Praise the Lord!! He’s doing such amazing things, guys. I’m so excited for what He’s going to do next. 🙂 

Pictured above: The front of one bracelet. Text reading "Hephzibah 267," with a bird/dove flying in flight underneath.

Pictured above: The front of one bracelet. Text reading “Hephzibah 267,” with a bird/dove in flight underneath.

Pictured: The front of one red bracelet. Text reads, "Isaiah 62 | Bring Back His Girls"

Pictured: The front of one red bracelet. Text reads, “Isaiah 62 | Bring Back His Girls.”

The front of one bracelet. Text reads, "Isaiah 62 | Bring Back His Girls."

The front of one more simple, boyish bracelet. Text reads, “Isaiah 62 | Bring Back His Girls.”

Pictured: The front side of one bracelet. Text reads, "Hephzibah: My Delight is in Her".

Pictured: The front side of one bracelet. Text reads, “Hephzibah: My Delight is in Her”.

Bless the Lord for all of you. I’m continuing to pray for all of you, those I’ve met and those who’ve followed online… may the Lord bring you to know Him through His kindness and mercy and through the knowledge of His son, Christ Jesus. May you deeply desire to know Him through His Word, and may you be rooted in it as you gain all spiritual wisdom and insight into what He wants for your life. Be so blessed. I love you all.