Your prayers and support have been a light in the darkness to believers like Charity from Nigeria. She was able to receive trauma healing after her village, Guyaku in northern Nigeria, was attacked by Islamic militants Boko Haram. And now, she herself is shining a light for others who have suffered trauma by offering them counselling.
Charity and her family are learning to heal from their ordeal, thanks to you
After Boko Haram attacked her village, the darkness used to trigger fear in Charity and her children. Barking dogs and other loud noises had the same effect. “We didn't know we were traumatised,” Charity shares. “We didn't even know what trauma meant.”
The attack came suddenly one night while Charity and her three children were getting ready for bed. Charity’s brother ran into the home with an urgent warning: “Put out the light! Put out the light!”
Charity grabbed her youngest daughter, Patience, and quickly placed her on her back in a wrap. “We ran away towards the mountains,” Charity says. In the scramble, Charity got separated from two of her children, Theophilus and Elizabeth.
“The trauma healing has really helped us to learn how to forgive, and how to let go of anger. It has given us hope of a life in the future.”Charity
More Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country in the world. Violent attacks by Boko Haram and other Islamic extremist groups are common in the north of the country and across the Middle Belt – and they are sadly becoming more frequent further south. In these attacks, Christians are often murdered or have their property and means of livelihood destroyed. Nigeria has risen two places on this year’s World Watch List, reflecting the rising levels of violence across the country.
The day after the attack, everyone cautiously headed back to the village to survey the damage. They found their houses, church and crops were destroyed. On her way back, Charity heard that Boko Haram had killed some of her family members in the attack. She was devastated; all she could think about was her missing children.
“When I arrived home, I didn't see my children,” Charity says. “I couldn't even eat food or drink water throughout the day because there was no taste, and I was thinking, if I drink this water and eat this food and my children are dead, of what use is the food to me?”
“Seeing my children felt like a new dawn – everything changed because my lost children were back.”Charity
A week went by with no news. One day, Charity was alone in her mother’s house when she heard her son calling out her name. When she looked out her front door, she saw Theophilus and Elizabeth walking toward her.
“I was so shocked and excited as I shouted their names!” Charity recalls. “Seeing my children felt like a new dawn – everything changed because my lost children were back.”
When Open Doors heard about the attack on Guyaku, local partners in the field rushed into action to help provide emergency aid, food relief and support to rebuild, thanks to your prayers and gifts. “Your coming helped us a lot,” Charity says. “At that time, we lost hope and had no place to stay – we were sleeping in the bush behind the town after the incident occurred.”
They were also able to deliver vital trauma counselling to Charity and her family. “You came just at the time we needed the teaching on trauma,” she says. “The teaching on trauma has helped us a lot. The attack put a wound in our hearts that would not be healed. But the teachings you gave us really helped us because it brought unity.”
Later, Charity received Open Doors training to help others wrestling with trauma. Because you are standing with her, she is taking the light she has received through healing and sharing it with others in her community – thank you.
“Your coming has brought about new life,” she says. “The trauma healing has really helped us to learn how to forgive, and how to let go of anger. It has given us hope of a life in the future.”
Please continue to pray with Charity, her family and for our persecuted church family across Nigeria who have experienced violence at the hands of militant groups.
You can send a message of encouragement to Charity and her family - they would love to hear from you!
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.