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Cameroon: Final delivery - over 1,000 letters delivered to Sharifa and family
06 March 2017
In July 2014, Pastor Jean Marcel Kesvere was abducted and killed by Boko Haram militants who attacked his village in northern Cameroon. His wife, Sharifa*, and their eight children escaped with only the clothes on their backs. Though they were welcomed into a new community, the scale of the family's loss was overwhelming. Open Doors visited them soon afterwards and supplied them with emergency aid and provisions, but it quickly became clear that they needed more than just physical support - so, in November 2014, Open Doors launched a letter-writing campaign to enable Christians worldwide to write to and encourage them.
Welcomed with a smile
As the Open Doors team arrive to deliver this, the final batch of letters and cards for the Kesveres, Sharifa welcomes the guests into her home with a broad smile. Her youngest children run around their mother - the eldest are out at school.
Amora*, an Open Doors worker, has visited Sharifa and her family multiple times over the last couple of years to deliver letters. This last batch of cards will bring the total number to more than 1,000 letters and cards - each one letting them know that they are loved, remembered and prayed for by their family in Christ around the world. It is clear that these letters have been helping them on their long journey to recovery.
When the final box of letters is handed over, immediately the family start opening them and begin chatting.
"These words renew my assurance of the Lord's protection"
"I am touched by this letter written by three beloved brethren in France," says Sharifa, holding up a card she has just opened. "It says, 'Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Best Friend'. These words renew my assurance of the Lord's protection over me and my children."
When Open Doors workers first visited Sharifa and her family after the loss of Jean Marcel, Sharifa had been so traumatised she could hardly speak and her oldest daughter, Perside, had been inconsolable.
But Sharifa is deeply thankful for the love she has received through the letters. "If someone does not think about you, they can't write to you. The cards have been a great encouragement to me and my family.
"My children are very much encouraged in their faith by the letters. They are always attracted by the photos or images on the cards and often spend their time considering the images."
"It is you that God used to provide all these blessings"
As well as supporting Sharifa with her immediate needs and through letter-writing, Open Doors has provided monetary support for Sharifa to start up her own ice-making business and manage a farm. "I harvested 40 bags of unpeeled rice this last season!" Sharifa shares excitedly.
"The Lord, by His grace, passed through you to help me get over all that had come my way. The letters and your visits have greatly encouraged me. To all the beloved of Open Doors, I say as a mother, thank you to everyone.
"If today my children and I live, eat and are clothed, it is you that God used to provide all these blessings. Through your colleagues, you do not consider the difficulties of the road because of your love for us. I wish you much courage in the work!"
Thank you! This is not the end...
Thank you so much if you have been one of the many lifting up the Kesveres in your prayers, writing to the family or giving to Open Doors to enable us to support them. Your actions have been making a substantial difference in their lives!
Although this delivery concludes our writing campaign for Sharifa, this is not the end of Open Doors' relationship with the Kesveres. We will continue to support the family and visit them, and encourage believers around the world to pray for this family.
STAND WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Sharifa is just one of thousands of our brothers and sisters in sub-Saharan Africa who have been forced to flee their homes because of extreme persecution. Here are four more things you can do to stand with them:
- Pray. Use the prayer points below to pray for Sharifa and her family. Use our prayer resources to pray for others.
- Give. Every £34 could provide training to two persecuted Christians in the region to help them generate their own income and restore their dignity.
- Speak out. Help your church or small group to wake up to extreme persecution with our World Watch church pack - order yours today.
- Write. Although our writing campaign for Sharifa has ended, there are other persecuted believers who need our encouragement. Find out about our other writing campaigns.
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors
- That the Lord will continue the good work of healing and restoration He has begun in the Kesvere family
- That He will continue to keep them in the faith and give them the strength to hold onto Him
- Sharifa asks that we pray for good health for her and for her children who sometimes suffer from malaria
- Thank the Lord for providing for them, and pray that He would continue to give them all that they need.