Nigeria is a country that has witnessed horrendous violence against Christians and Christian communities in the past few years. Although freedom of religion is established as part of the country’s constitution, its 12 most northerly states have all adopted forms of Sharia (Islamic law), and Islamists actively pursue transforming the country into an Islamic nation.
The Islamist group Boko Haram has targeted Christians and churches in the north. Many people have been killed, and thousands more have had to flee homes and land. Further south Fulani Muslim herdsmen have attacked Christian communities with the intent of taking over the land. The death toll of Christians has been high, and many more live with the trauma of seeing loved ones killed or brutalised.
Our partner in Nigeria runs trauma-healing workshops, helping Christians respond biblically and in a Christ-like way to severe persecution. The workshops help victims who have experienced suffering and loss to express their pain, to face up to it and to bring it to Christ, so that feelings do not become buried deep within. The workshop seeks to bring victims to a point where, by the grace of God, they are able to forgive those who have hurt them. They then have a foundation on which to rebuild their own lives.
The workshops typically help about 40 people over a five-day period. They equip church leaders with biblical principles to respond to suffering – their own and the suffering of others. Our partner runs a separate youth version of the workshop, for young people traumatised by the violence.
WHAT YOUR SUPPORT ACHIEVES
Costs will vary, depending on the location and numbers, but a single trauma-healing workshop will typically cost in the region of £200 per person attending. This involves transport, accommodation and food, along with workshop materials and the cost of facilitators running the programme.
“Before, I didn’t know about the importance of forgiveness, but it made me realise that you need to.” – Regina, who attended the young people’s version of the trauma-healing workshop.