Four years ago, few people had heard of the dusty town of Chibok. But that changed on April 14 2014 when Boko Haram stormed the school and abducted 230 of the 275 girls who had gathered to take an exam. Today, half of those girls remain in captivity. During a recent visit, parents thanked Open Doors partners for all their support and urged Christians to keep praying for them.
Open Doors partners have visited Chibok many times since the abduction. Each time they witnessed the town trying hard to pick itself up. But continued instability in the area makes it very difficult.
For Pastor Ayuba Muta and his family, the rescues have been bitter-sweet; his family is a picture of the mixed fate that epitomises Chibok. Two of his daughters were kidnapped. One was released, one remains in captivity. “By the time I heard the news that my daughters were kidnapped, I became so worried thinking I would no longer see these girls,” said Pastor Ayuba. “Open Doors counselled us for some time, and I felt very comforted. I began to surrender all things to God. Then one day I learned that one of my daughters was released, while the other one is still there. What is impossible with man is possible with God. I trust God that one day my other daughter also will be released.”
Your support has enabled Open Doors to walk closely with the families of the kidnapped girls over the past four years. Through local partners we conducted trauma counselling and provided financial support for their medication and food. We have also generated prayer for them and sent letters of encouragement written by our supporters. “We have seen the result of your prayers. We have seen Him answer your prayers. God has used you to change our story. Your letters have been our closest companions. When we feel like we are finished, we drive new strength from your words. We are eternally grateful. God will bless you richly!” said Yakubu Nkeki Maina, spokesperson for the Chibok parents.
Your letters brought great encouragement to the Chibok parents.
One of our partners, who visited Chibok, said, “We left Chibok encouraged over the testimony of the Chibok parents and the difference we can see our presence has made for them. But we also felt deeply burdened by the desperate need for continued encouragement and prayer we observed. Therefore, we want to ask our family around the world to again rally around these parents through prayer and encouragement until they have been reunited with their daughters.”
GIVE CHIBOK PARENTS HOPE
The greatest gift you can give a persecuted Christian is the knowledge that they're not alone. Why not write to a Chibok parent to tell them that you are praying for them? Let the Chibok parents still waiting for their daughters know that they are not forgotten them by sending a message of encouragement.
Every £30 can provide two days of trauma care training for a church leader in Africa helping others recover from their traumatic experiences of persecution.
GRADUALLY PICKING UP
Chibok’s market has reopened and commercial activities are gradually picking up. Church activities are also increasing. Even the notorious ruins of the Chibok Secondary State School is being renovated and extended after being in disrepair for years. All of this is probably thanks to the prominent military presence in the area. There are many military checkpoints on the way to Chibok where soldiers search vehicle for weapons and insurgents. In the town, troops are everywhere.
Despite all that the Chibok parents have been through during the past four years, they travelled more than 300 km to visit the distressed parents of the girls 110 girls from Dapchi, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in February.
“We wanted to go there, sit, listen and talk to one another.” Yana said. “Share with them our experience in managing life as traumatised parents whose daughters were still in Boko Haram’s hands. Some parents of freed Chibok girls were also in the delegation to strengthen the faith and raise the hope of the Dapchi parents that their daughters would one day return home safely.”
On March 21 the Dapachi girls were released. However, Leah Sharibuwas, the only Christian in the group was not released, because she refused to convert to Islam.
RESCUED AND RELEASED
One of those mothers who received back her daughter is Mary Yakubu. “I am the mother of one of the Chibok girls that was kidnapped. I am more than happy. My daughter is alive! And now she is released! She is in school now.”
Some of the girls who escaped before, during or shortly after the attack on the school went to the US to continue their education. Twenty four girls received scholarships to study at the American University of Nigeria. Many of the released Chibok girls now attend school in Yola, Adamawa State. They are doing well spiritually. Almost all of them were baptised after their release, publicly declaring their intention to continue walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.
PRAY WITH US
Chibok parents told us that 112 girls are still missing. Other sources say 122 girls are still in Boko Haram captivity. Esther Joseph said, “My daughter has not yet come back. I am in sadness. I need your help. Help me by praying.”
Falmata, whose daughter is still in captivity said, “Christians, join us in prayers so that our girls will be released safely, like the others that are safe now. We pray for them day and night. We cannot sleep. Pray for us, you fellow Christians. Unite with us in prayer. Ask God to bring our girls back home safely.”
Esther had to suppress sobs when she spoke to Open Doors partners.
- For continued urgency to rescue the remaining Chibok girls and for the Lord’s blessing on every effort
- For God’s abundant grace on the girls who are still held captive by Boko Haram – that the Lord would strengthen their faith and comforting them
- For comfort for the parents who are still eagerly awaiting the return of their daughters, that they will not lose hope
- For the girls who have been released as they reintegrate that God would heal them and protect them against further traumatisation.
If you would like to give to our work in Africa, every £30 can provide two days of trauma care training for a church leader helping others recover from their traumatic experiences of persecution.