The world has followed the tragic abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls (#Bringbackourgirls) from Chibok, Nigeria. Yet that tragedy is just one incident in an increasingly bloody attempt by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents to make northeast Nigeria into an Islamic state.
Caught in the middle is Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), the largest Christian denomination in the area of northeast Nigeria where Boko Haram is taking territory. This year EYN has seen many of its churches and congregations destroyed, as thousands of church members have been killed and pastors and their families have been among the hundreds more people abducted since the Chibok schoolgirls were taken. Most of the schoolgirls were from EYN. Estimates are that more than 90,000 EYN church members have been displaced by the fighting this year.
Now the situation of EYN is dire as its headquarters property and Kulp Bible College have been taken by Boko Haram. The attack on the headquarters on October 29, 2014 occurred as Boko Haram fighters were on their way to attack and take the nearby city of Mubi, near the Cameroon border. It is believed most of those at the EYN headquarters escaped alive, but many people in Mubi and surrounding villages were killed and others are now trapped in the control of Boko Haram.
The EYN staff is displaced, and the church leadership is working to regroup. They are faced with the prospect of having to rebuild church offices and relocate staff and their families, at the same time the church continues to aid thousands of members who have been displaced. In addition, hundreds of pastors who were serving churches in the conflict zone are displaced without jobs or means to provide for families. These are crucial issues for the church's survival.
Week of Compassion is responding through our partner, Church of the Brethren, by helping to provide food and supplies to the displaced, and building temporary shelters at "care centers" in safer locations in central Nigeria, among other priorities that now include the relocation of the EYN offices and staff.
Week of Compassion's ecumenical commitment makes a real difference all over the world, every single day. Even when the media's headlines have moved on to other news topics, Week of Compassion is ready to respond to not only the disaster at hand, but remains for the long-term. Thank you for putting your Compassion into Action from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth!
For more information about Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria and the Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria, click here.
This Week's Responses:
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Nigeria, Emergency Relief
Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo, Ebola Relief