Nigeria has witnessed horrendous violence against Christians and Christian communities in the past few decades. Although freedom of religion is established as part of the country’s constitution, Nigeria’s 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. Thousands have been killed, and many more have been forced to flee homes and land. Further south militant Fulani 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 having seen loved ones killed or brutalised.
The Trauma-Healing Workshops project is 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, process it and to bring it to Christ, so that emotions do not become unhealthily suppressed.
The workshops seek 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.
Our partner also runs a separate youth version of the workshop for young people traumatised by the violence.
What Your Support Achieves
The workshops typically help about 40 people over a five-day period. Trained facilitators run the programme and those attending are provided with transport, accommodation, food, and workshop materials. The workshops are also equipping church leaders with biblical principles to respond to suffering – their own and the suffering of others.
Regina, who attended the young people’s version of the trauma-healing workshop, says, ‘Before, I didn’t know about the importance of forgiveness, but it made me realise that you need to.’
If you would like to support this project, or others like it, please visit releaseinternational.org/give and select ‘Help Christians in flight’ from the drop-down menu.