Nigeria

HEALING THE TRAUMA OF WAR

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Major appeal for Nigerian Christians

As increasing numbers of Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria, Release International has launched a major appeal with a streamed church service from Nigeria. That service is to be broadcast throughout May on Revelation TV.

A team from Release International joined key partners in Nigeria to record eyewitness testimony to the growing number of attacks and to record a church service.

The location was Miango village in Plateau State, scene of a pre-Christmas raid by Islamist Fulani militia against Christian villagers.

Ablaze

Mass burial of victims in Kaduna. Picture Arise News scaled

Villagers who had to flee for their lives said the Nigerian military did nothing to prevent the attack – even though their soldiers were based on the outskirts of the village, within sight of the attackers.

Blessing (her name has been changed), was among those whose house was burned. She told Release International: ‘The Fulani militants chased the villagers out of their homes, set them ablaze and destroyed them.

‘The Nigerian soldiers did not help us at all. They took their weapons and left. Through all this destruction nobody stopped the attackers.’

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Trauma healing

Release International joined partner organisation Stefanos for a trauma healing workshop to bring emotional care to survivors of Islamist attacks across eight northern states.

As well as emotional trauma, many of the attendees were suffering a wide range of physical injuries. They gathered from states ranging from Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto to Zamfara.

Stefanos Foundation took them through a five-day course of scripture-based trauma healing, that reached its climax when they symbolically took their suffering to the cross.

Hundreds of Christians packed out a special church service in Miango, which had been ransacked and torched by Islamist Fulani.

Message of hope

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Standing beneath a blackened ceiling scarred by fire, Release International CEO Paul Robinson preached a message of hope to the villagers. He said: ‘The hope we have as Christians is because Jesus conquered sin and death. He defeated the grave.

‘My prayer for you today is that you will continue to enjoy and rejoice in Christian hope – despite everything you’ve been through. Nothing can take that hope away from you – not even the violence you have suffered, not even death itself.’

Following the church service, Release International visited families whose damaged homes had been repaired by Stefanos.

Blessing said, ‘After the attack, we were struggling to put our homes back together until [Release International] partners Stefanos replaced our roofs.’

Online event

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Release International’s Nigeria appeal got underway by streaming the Miango church service in a special online event, featuring reports from Christians who have been attacked, as well as inspirational interviews with partners.

You can watch the recording online below.

An edited version of the recording will feature in the May edition of The Persecuted Church programme on Revelation TV. The 1hr programme, presented by Andrew Boyd, is a special edition focusing on Nigeria to tie in with the Release International campaign.

You can watch it on Freeview, Sky, Roku or Apple TV, or see it online [here].

TPC

You can also hear more about the trauma healing programme run by Stefanos Foundation in our latest Voice podcast. To listen, click on the image below:

‘Thousands have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes in ongoing attacks by terrorist groups,’ said Release International CEO Paul Robinson.

‘We are calling the attention of the world to these issues, and to the Church we say, “Join us in prayer and in action to support our suffering Christian family in Nigeria.”‘