Just three months ago, over the course of just a few hours a mob of hundreds of Muslim radicals destroyed almost 70 churches, killed ten people and injured hundreds more. Today, the Christians living in the area are trying to move on, preaching the Gospel and forgiving those who’ve done them such great harm.
“They took pews, Bibles, chairs and sound equipment then set them on fire. They did this while chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I felt so sad. I started to cry,” said Pastor Musa Issa of Bethel Horizon Church in Naimey, Niger. “I feel horrible when I watch the video. I ask myself ‘Why’? Why did they do this to us? What did we do to deserve this?’ We spent years building the church. Within minutes it was all gone!”
The head of the Alliance of the Evangelical Churches in Niger, Boureima Kimso, gave an interview to CBN discussing the extent of damage done to the Christian Church in Niger.
“Sixty-nine churches and 11 homes were destroyed. That’s a total of 80 Christian buildings within a few hours… Absolutely, it was premeditated. It was organized. It was shocking because systematically in a few hours churches were targeted and houses attacked, so it means that someone organized and executed this plan.
I tell our brothers and sisters that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities. We have to encourage ourselves because persecution is part of the life of the Church. There is no church that existed without persecution.”
But now the Christians in Niger are doing something amazing. They are moving forward and as a community they are choosing to forgive their attackers!
One woman had this to say, “My prayer is that they would come to know Jesus and that the Lord would touch them even in a dream. I want God to do to them what He did to Paul the Apostle when he persecuted Christians. God touched him on his way to Damascus. I want those men to experience the same touch from God!” Her husband concurred with his wife and added, “The Lord is training us; He’s building us. There cannot be increase without hardships. If you want to go to the next level you have to go through hardship,”
Amen. Oh, that the Christian church in America would learn such lessons without the pain of persecution that is happening around the world. There is a very real attack happening on Christians the world over, and if we choose not to recognize that fact, and then to respond in accordance with it… we risk losing much of our influence in many corners of the globe. The church is supposed to be salt and light all over the planet; will we allow the flame of our brothers and sisters to be extinguished without a fight? (And by fight, I do not mean in the physical sense…)
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