The pastor of Leah Sharibu, a Christian girl abducted from her school in Dapchi, Nigeria, on 19 February, has brought together Christians and Muslims to pray for her safe return.
Pastor Daniel Auta of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) told local media, “All over Dapchi, we have all been organising prayer sessions. All the churches in Dapchi are praying. We initially did three days of prayer and fasting. After that, we organised special prayers and fasted for three more days… Still, we have continued to pray in our various houses.”
Over 100 girls were captured by Boko Haram from their secondary school in Dapchi, Nigeria, on 19 February. Most of the girl were released just a few weeks later, on 21 March. However, Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl in the group, was not released.
Leah’s mother, Rebeccah, told local media what she had heard from Leah’s friends who had escaped. “(Leah) was about to board the vehicle that was to bring them back. Then Boko Haram said she should convert. Her friends said they tried to convince her but she said she will not convert to Islam. Boko Haram said since she will not convert to Islam she should remain behind. That was how they left her. She is alone.”
Leah apparently asked her departing classmates to pray for her. She also asked her friends to give her mother a message: “My mother you should not be disturbed. I know it is not easy missing me, but I want to assure you that I am fine where I am. My God, whom we have been praying to with you, is showing Himself mighty in my trying moment. I know your words to me during our morning devotions that God is very close to people in pain. I am witnessing this now. I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Natha, Leah’s father, is stunned by his daughter’s spiritual strength. “The confidence and faith of my daughter in the face of death in the hands of Boko Haram, to say she will never denounce Christ, made me realise that I had been living with a strong follower of Christ in my house. I am highly encouraged by her strong faith in the Lord. I could only imagine what I would have done if I were in her shoes. My daughter’s testimony has drawn me very closer to Christ. I am a proud father and call on her to remain faithful to God... Hold on to Christ, Leah. You are a heroine of faith.
“I am very grateful to all churches and indeed all Nigerians who are supporting us with their prayers.”
Nigeria is number 14 on the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors' annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Open Doors partners with the local church to strengthen and equip persecuted believers in northern Nigeria through training, education for children, care and discipleship training for new believers, community development projects, legal assistance, emergency relief and trauma counselling.
Every £30 can provide two days of trauma care training for a church leader or lay leader in Africa, so they can help others begin to recover from their traumatic experiences of persecution.
- For freedom for Leah, and for the many others who are being held captive by Boko Haram
- That Leah and others like her will be able to remain strong in their faith and continue to know God’s presence with them, even in captivity
- For comfort for their families
- That God will change the hearts of Boko Haram members.