Armed Robbers Hold Nigerian Missionaries At Gunpoint, Steal Evangelistic Tools and Equipment
August 18, 2011
Gabriel Barau and his missionary team were returning from one of the regular stops of the "School on Wheels" which was provided through Christian Aid Mission in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Missionaries sharing the gospel with Fulani men. School on Wheels in background.
They were singing and rejoicing together over the fruit of unprecedented open doors and receptivity to the gospel among the highly-resistant Fulani nomads. Several men and women had responded to the Christian video they showed and joined the group of disciples within the nomadic camp.
Suddenly, they were stopped and surrounded by armed robbers.
Gabriel writes, "So terrible and traumatizing. I bore it a little more easily because you remember that I had this experience before...but not as horrible as this-in the dead of night with dangerous men pointing guns at me, demanding that I give them everything I have or they shoot us all.
"We think the robbers are likely Fulanis who wanted money to buy more cows. They asked why I had a big vehicle but no money. They took all we had. If they knew how to drive, they would have driven away in my vehicle. They said next time they will kill me.
"But I am deeply grieved that they took all of our evangelistic material and equipment that had been provided through Christian Aid's loving generosity and has helped us so much with the work--cameras, my laptop with ministry records and pictures, video projector, generator, cell phones and other materials worth $4000. They even took our shoes. We were fortunate to have our clothes. Many robbery victims are left naked on the side of the road. Many are also killed. We are thankful for the Lord's protection.
Typical Fulani girls. The Fulani tribe is the largest unreached people group in Africa.
Christian Aid Mission has established a special fund to replace the stolen evangelistic materials and equipment. To phone in contributions using a credit card, call 800-977-5650. Please use gift code 550MCM. Or click here to contribute now.
"Please pray that the Lord will restore our materials," pleaded Gabriel, "as targeting the Fulani now is so fruitful and sweet. We do not want to slow down. In fact, as you know, there are many needs waiting to be met for the Fulani fields, the School of Missions, and the Safe Haven Discipleship Center."
The greatest numbers of Fulani are found in Nigeria where at least 17 million live. They form a large part of the strongly Muslim ruling class in the nation. One Christian Aid-supported indigenous missionary ministry has made tremendous inroads with the Fulani since they began working among them in 2002. Several native missionaries have joined the nomadic life of this targeted group, and others place themselves in strategic stopping places where Fulani wanderers trade and pick up needed supplies, taking every opportunity to present Christ.
After several years of living among this tribe, these missionaries have earned the trust and friendship of the local Fulani. A Fulani chief who oversees 120 villages listened to an audio Bible given to him by a native missionary and has given them to his family members and community leaders. The ministry now operates one "School on Wheels" for Fulani adults and children, who traditionally remain uneducated.
Fulani, who are 80 percent nomadic, typically do not stay in one place for longer than three months because of their livestock. The School on Wheels, a van equipped with educational materials, Fulani Bibles, first aid materials, veterinarian medical supplies, cots, a generator, and a video projector for Christian films, has produced much fruit. Missionaries are praying for more vehicles to increase the scope and effectiveness of this project.
In 2007, Christian Aid provided the funds for a church building, which doubles as a school for Fulani believers. The Fulani field is this native ministry's fastest growing mission field, with many asking questions about Christ.
Fulanis who accept Christ as Savior are at great risk of being killed by the Fulani community, which is very hostile toward the gospel. The ministry has begun construction on a safe haven for Fulani believers, where they will be protected, discipled, educated, and taught an income-generating skill. A few huts, a well, and a small classroom have already been built for the Fulani living on the 26-acre plot of land given to the missionaries by a village chief. To complete the compound, MCM hopes to add extra classrooms to the school building, as well as to construct dormitories to house Fulani families, a clinic, and a vocational training center, where believers will learn tailoring, candle-making, cooking, farming, and weaving.
"We have information prepared for those who are interested in helping," says Rae Burnett, "including proposals on how to help the School on Wheels and Safe Haven projects. These are available to individuals, churches, Sunday School classes and Christian groups who want to support indigenous missionary projects in Africa."