In the West-Central region of Africa, Boko Haram’s insurgency, which has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2009, and displaced more than 2.5 million others, has become a regional threat,
affecting Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Christians have paid a particularly heavy price during Boko Haram’s insurgency.
Open Doors estimates that, between 2006 and 2015, at least 15,500 Christians died in the violence in Nigeria’s north. It also claims that 1.3 million Christians fled to safer regions during the same period, with thousands of churches closed or abandoned. In 2014, Boko Haram was named the world’s deadliest terror group, ahead of the Islamic State, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
The phenomenon has dramatically affected Church activities in various regions. But Revd Reuben E. Ezemadu, Coordinator of the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI), a grassroots African initiative aimed at mobilising African churches to send Africans as missionaries around the world, told World Watch Monitor the violence has at least had one unexpected positive effect: boosting mission work in Africa. Revd Ezemadu says there are now many missionaries among groups of internally displaced persons, and that many Muslims have converted to Christianity.
“The upsurge in attacks have made some Muslims detest their religion,” he says, “and to ask the question: ‘Is this really a religion of peace? Is it really what we should follow?’ And as they come into contact with Christians, who show them the love of God, most of them are turning to Christ. We have heard stories of how God visited some of them, through wonders and miracles,” Ezemadu continues. “Out of our crisis, something great will come. For years churches were focused on converting people and claiming territories, without making disciples. The crisis will now force them to turn to Christ and be dependent on him,” he adds.
Source: World Watch Monitor
Bible Study: Proverbs 24:19-22
SEPTEMBER Praise God that the vicious war against Christians waged by Boko Haram is leading to greater resolve to follow Christ.
PRAY for the African Church that it may become stronger as it seeks God in the midst of suffering.