On these pages, I have written previously about the terrible tragedies facing Christians in Nigeria. Last week, one of the young victims of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Evil” in the Hausa language, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. The hearing, entitled “Boko Haram: The Growing Threat to Schoolgirls, Nigeria, and Beyond,” is available here. Deborah Peter is a 15-year-old survivor of Boko Haram’s terror. She was rescued from Nigeria approximately nine months ago by our friends at the Jubilee Campaign (www.jubileecampaign.org). In her testimony before Congress, Debbie described how on the night of December 22, 2011, three members of Boko Haram came to her home and killed her father, a Christian pastor, who refused to recant his faith. The terrorists then killed her brother, Caleb, in order to prevent him from growing up to be a pastor. The Islamists forced Debbie to lay between the dead bodies for the rest of that night. Another local pastor, Reverend Faye Pama, paid for Debbie to leave the area. Then on May 15, 2013, Pastor Pama was also murdered by Boko Haram in the presence of his children. Ultimately, Debbie was rescued by Jubilee Campaign workers several weeks after the killing of her family. She was first placed in a trauma counseling program, and then moved into a secure environment, and eventually came to the United States. It was only last week when she spoke before Congress that she told the world her horrific story. In her testimony, she said that her hope was to let the world know how truly barbaric Boko Haram is, and to encourage the rescue of the 276 kidnapped school girls from Chibok.
Jubilee Campaign also rescued Hajja, another young woman, in September 2013. Hajja is the first escaped slave-bride to speak out against Boko Haram. Hajja is a Christian teen, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram and given the jihadist stark choice: convert to Islam or die. A relative of hers who was one of the Islamic terrorists convinced her to feign “conversion” to save her life. Under great pressure, she did so. The leaders of Boko Haram celebrated her “conversion” to Islam by assigning her to be the slave-bride of one of the Boko Haram leaders. However, she was given a 90-day purification ceremony before consummation of the “marriage.” During that time, the Boko Haram dressed her in burqas, and made her memorize Koranic verses. Near the end of the 90 day purification period, she had the foresight to feign a serious illness. As a now “Moslem” slave-bride, she was sent to a hospital with an older woman as a chaperone for medical treatment. Hajja then escaped from the chaperone, and managed to flee the area. A Jubilee Campaign team in the area moved Hajja to a safe location. Upon learning that she had escaped, the Islamic terrorists ransacked her family home searching for her, and then killed her uncle when they couldn’t find her. Last week, Hajja was also interviewed on CBS News, and told the story of her captivity. You can watch the video here. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California) stated that Boko Haram’s terroristic activities have resulted in the deaths of 14,000 victims, the burning and destruction of 500 schools, as well as the complete destruction of many villages, and the kidnapping of many children in the name of its demonic jihadist movement. Debbie and Hajja reveal the utter depravity of the religion and politics of Boko Haram. Please pray for Debbie and Hajja that God will heal their hearts and continue to give them great courage. Please pray for the other victims of Boko Haram butchery, and for the terrorists in Boko Haram as well. I believe that Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the message of the Holy Gospel away from Moslems. It seems to me that the enemy thinks that if he can make the rest of us afraid of Moslems, or make us hate them, then he can prevent the Church from reaching Moslems for the Lord Jesus Christ. But that strategy isn’t working. Many of my readers might not know that there are now former Islamic terrorists who walk with Jesus in every Middle Eastern country. In fact, missiologists believe that more Moslems have become followers of Jesus in the past ten years or so than in the previous fourteen centuries of Islam. And may the memory of Pastor Peter, Caleb, and Pastor Pama be eternal.
At the conclusion of her congressional testimony, Debbie said the following:
I am thankful to Tuesday’s Children, the 911 Foundation for inviting me to a summer camp for child survivors of terrorism. I am thankful to Jubilee Campaign for bringing me to America, and I am thankful to Mt. Mission School for giving me a chance to continue my education and being a home to me in America.
These sound to me like organizations truly doing God’s work that my readers and their churches might wish to consider supporting in tangible ways.