WORLD WATCH LIST CASE STUDY: NAOMI IN BURKINA FASO

Burkina Faso

Naomi’s town in northern Burkina Faso was a peaceful place, where the tight-knit Christian community lived alongside their Muslim neighbours. In April 2019, all that changed when Islamic terrorists arrived.

“My husband Eli and I were at home with my children,” Naomi recalls. “After preparing for his Sunday sermon, Eli told me he was going to see his friend.

“Some hours later, we began to hear gunshots everywhere. My children all came to my room and asked what was going on? ‘Let’s be calm and start praying,’ I told them, but my heart was already in my mouth. My husband wasn’t far away, but I sensed that he was in trouble.”

The shooting lasted two hours. When it was over, Naomi waited for Eli to return – instead, another pastor came to tell her that Eli had been shot and killed. “My world came to a standstill. Life became so tough and unbearable.”

Naomi was now a widow. She would have to look after her nine children alone.

What is life like for Christians in Burkina Faso?

A fight for survival

She and her children relocated to the city of Kaya in Burkina Faso for safety and the local church gave her accommodation and food, but they eventually ran out of resources. Fortunately, thanks to the prayers and gifts of Open Doors supporters, we were able to step in and help Naomi to get back on her feet.

“When the pastor announced that God had sent some believers to bring help to us, I didn’t take him seriously,” remembers Naomi. “But today, God’s promises have been fulfilled! He is a miracle-working God. God will richly bless all those who gave to support us.”

Burkina Faso has been struck by a wave of violence. Christians say they are in a fight for survival. Dozens of church leaders have been killed or kidnapped by violent Islamic militants. Villagers wearing Christian symbols are singled out and killed on the spot. Churches have been burned down. Thousands of Christians have fled to camps for the displaced or have taken refuge with friends in safer areas.

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