Rose lost her husband and her livelihood, but never her faith.
COVID-19 lockdown has stopped daily life in Africa. But violent persecution hasn’t stopped. And neither will Open Doors’ courageous church partners.
When Rose said goodbye to her husband on April 7, it was for the last time. He went out on patrol to check for warning signs of a Fulani attack on their village. He didn’t come back.
Rose says, “After the patrol, my husband was on his way back home to the children when he was shot dead.”
Violent persecution has continued in several African countries under COVID-19 restrictions, Open Doors researchers report. This is particularly true in Nigeria where Islamic extremists and tribespeople frequently attack and murder Christians.
Lockdown has caused economic devastation on top of years of poverty and hardship. Hundreds of thousands of Christians are in dire need of support.
“Severe hunger came, and we had no food,” Rose tells us. “There was no money to buy any food. We couldn’t trade anything for money, because the markets were closed. It was mango season, so we fed on the mangoes, but the season is now finished.
“Sometimes we go to sleep without any food. I only put my trust in God to see me through. And today we are amongst the living ones. It’s a miracle.”
Open Doors has identified more than 15,000 families across Sub-Saharan Africa in urgent need of help. Nigeria has the highest level of need: 9,000 families.
Last in line
These believers have no other source of help. Their churches are shut down and what little help they can offer has run out. And what’s worse, believers often face discrimination in government or local relief. They are the last in line.
“We were happy when the government announced food aid for the poor,” Rose tells us. “But we were left out. We received none of that food. All our hopes were dashed. I have no choice than to ration the food that we have until help comes.”
It is expected that the pandemic will peak in Africa in September, yet already vulnerable Christians face severe hunger.
Your support could provide urgent relief to the most vulnerable. Widows like Rose, rural pastors with no livelihood, believers from a Muslim background. Many thousands of families have been driven from their homes by persecution.
Keeping the church alive
Open Doors has suspended our normal work training, discipling, strengthen the church across the region.
“Open Doors is not a relief agency, but for now we have had to suspend our longterm work to strengthen the church,” says our Field Director for Africa. “Our job is simply to keep the church alive.”
Rose takes courage from her faith and the knowledge that the worldwide family of God are praying for her. She meditates on Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. “Whenever I read this Psalm, I feel so encouraged amid the situation I find myself in.”
Please pray for the Lord’s provision in their lives. And if you are able, please continue to help bring urgent relief and hope to Rose and many others like her across Africa.