Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Joy, hope and restoration for persecuted women in Cameroon - Open Doors UK & Ireland
Impact
20 March 2024

Joy, hope and restoration for persecuted women in Cameroon

Your prayers and support are helping widows from Cameroon heal from their trauma and be restored in God’s love.


Cameroon
Persecuted women are finding healing and restoration, with your help

When Islamic militants attack, the impact of violence extends far beyond just one night. Boko Haram attacks are escalating and expanding in sub-Saharan Africa, and each incident leaves devastation – not just the people murdered, the homes burned down and the churches destroyed. These are horrendous enough. We also know that trauma can last long in the hearts and minds of the survivors. But you’re making sure our family finds hope.

Boko Haram attacks

In the Far North of Cameroon, Boko Haram attacks terrify and plague local believers. The militants often target men, with the intention of killing breadwinners and thereby destabilising Christian communities. Many Christian widows are left behind – mourning their husbands, fearful for their future and reliving horrific events. As well as their financial difficulties, these courageous women are left deeply traumatised.

God has other plans for these sisters in Christ, though. He is using Open Doors local partners across the country and the region to help these women restore and heal through trauma care. One group of 111 women gathered in northern Cameroon from 29-30 May. Each one has lived in some kind of isolation, unable to grieve or speak out about the pain and suffering they went through.

Self-help groups

One method of trauma care that Open Doors partners use is self-help groups, where women who’ve been through similar tragedies can share their painful experiences with each other. Because the women are helping each other, these groups are also designed to facilitate the process of self-empowerment to improve their quality of life.

EVERY £45
could help train a woman to know her value in Christ and strengthen other women in her community.
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“On the first day of the seminar, we did not know how to begin the programme because most of the women were sad and cold,” says a local Open Doors partner. “They were not responding to the discussions.”

The facilitators decided to turn to God’s Word as a way of starting conversations. “We decided to minister to them through prayers and Bible verses,” says the partner. “With the help of the Holy Spirit, after this session, the Lord filled the women with a spirit of joy and peace.”

The women were happy when together, many proclaiming prayers of restoration. The pain may not be completely gone, but it was clear that these women had put God at the centre of their lives and counted on Him for comfort, healing, and provision as they face the future.

Trauma seminar

At another gathering later in the year, a group of 43 widows attended trauma care – with the space and time to discuss their ordeals with others who knew exactly what they were going through. One way the local partners try to restore the dignity of these persecuted believers is quite simple: giving them comfortable beds in beautiful rooms, with enough food to eat. These are luxuries for women who are forced to camp out in the mountains and worry each day if there will be enough food to feed their children and themselves.

"I learnt that I should not keep things in my heart." Janice

“Thank you, thank you so much, I’ve been sleeping in the mountains for five years,” says Janice, one of the widows who came to the training. “Now I’ll sleep in a room like this instead? Thank you so much, thank you so much!”

For many of us, this might seem a small gesture – but it is all part of showing persecuted Christian women that they are valued, which is an integral part of the ongoing See. Change. campaign. These courageous women found the whole experience healing. Fatou lost her husband about a year ago. After the trauma care, she says, “I learnt that I should not keep things in my heart because, when we keep things in our hearts, it will choke us and make us physically and spiritually sick.”

Literacy classes

Aside from cultural contexts impacting girls’ education in the north of Cameroon, the presence of Boko Haram has also severely affected the education of women and girls. Due to frequent attacks, Christian communities in the region are constantly on the move and education sadly can’t take a priority over survival. Some schools function with great difficulties, though others have had to close altogether.

This illiteracy impacts the spiritual growth of Christians as they cannot read their Bibles or participate in other church activities that require basic reading and writing. It also has a practical, financial impact in some areas, as it hinders believers’ ability to set up small businesses or participate in income-generating activities, because they cannot handle basic financial transactions.

In response to the situation, Open Doors partners launched a two-year literacy programme for Christian women in the Far North region – offering classes for women and young girls who cannot attend school, to help them read, write and do basic arithmetic. It’s one more way that your support and prayers can help our persecuted sisters as they count the cost of following Jesus – and continue to follow Him faithfully.


Please pray
  • That each Christian woman would be seen, valued and empowered to fulfil her God-given potential
  • For the trauma care and literacy classes to be blessed by the Lord and fruitful
  • For God’s protecting love to surround vulnerable believers in the Far North of Cameroon.
Please give
  • Every £20 could give four women biblical literature to help nurture their faith
  • Every £30 could help a persecuted woman start a small business, giving her long-term financial security
  • Every £45 could help train a woman to know her value in Christ and strengthen other women in her community..

 

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