Local Missionaries in Nigeria
In this country where 53 percent of the population is Muslim, Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram is still active in its campaign to replace the democratic Nigerian government and impose sharia (Islamic law). Boko Haram, allied with the Islamic State, has killed tens of thousands of Nigerians in the northeast since 2009, often targeting Christians, churches and Christian organizations. There is some evidence that Boko Haram or other Islamic terrorist groups are arming and otherwise supporting the surge of Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian farmers.
Altogether, such violence has driven more than 2.3 million people from their homes, creating a humanitarian crisis that native missionaries are helping to alleviate. As local missionaries help the displaced with food, clothing, shelter and education, they have shared the gospel and seen many people put their faith in Christ. The workers seek assistance for this aid and efforts to provide converts from Islam with places of refuge and new land and housing in secure areas.
About 41 percent of Nigeria’s population is Christian, mainly in the central and southern areas. The central states where Muslim and Christian populations co-exist have seen increased anti-Christian attacks, and in recent years Muslim Fulani herdsmen have also been taking over Christians lands in some southern states. Besides providing aid, local missionaries are planting churches and implementing long-standing educational, agricultural and microenterprise programs to develop income and improve living standards for the poor.
Nigeria’s official language is English, but there are more than 500 languages spoken in the country, and most ethnic groups prefer to speak in their own language. English is widely used for education, business and official purposes. Only a small minority of the country’s urban elite speak English as a first language, and in some rural areas it is unknown.
With more than 500 ethnic groups, the three largest being the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, Nigeria has vast diversity among its population – which is the largest in Africa and the seventh largest in the world. It also has the third-largest population of people under age 18, behind India and China.
Sources: Joshua Project, CIA World Factbook, Wikipedia
How to Pray for
- Pray that the government security forces would put an end to the slaughter of innocent Christian families by Muslim extremists.
- Pray that churches would survive and thrive in the face of Islamist violence, and that the Lord would make His close presence known to survivors who have lost parents, children and other loved ones.
- Pray for the safety of native missionaries, and that they would be encouraged and strengthened amid difficult circumstances.
More stories from Nigeria
The critical aid that native workers provide to people internally displaced by violence now also goes to refugees from war-wracked Sudan – thousands have arrived in desperate need. “These people do not even come with clothing apart from what they wear,” the native ministry leader said.
Violence and kidnapping have driven thousands of people from their homes, creating unprecedented opportunity for native Christian workers to share the gospel as they provide critical aid to the displaced. “We need 400 Hausa Bibles urgently and more audio Bibles in Hausa, Fulfulde and English,” the ministry leader said.
Distributing more than 4,000 audio Bibles, workers followed up with many who indicated interest in the gospel and are leading them to Christ. “Two people who testified of how the Lord opened their eyes to understand his Word were so enthusiastic about knowing the Lord,” the ministry leader said.
In spite of widespread terrorist dangers, local Christian workers are providing aid to the displaced, drilling boreholes for fresh water and proclaiming Christ’s salvation. After distributing more than 4,000 audio Bibles, workers followed up with recipients and many put their faith in Christ.