“I abducted your girls, I will sell them!”
It is hard to believe someone could really say this and mean it. But this was just one of the outrageous statements reported in the news this week on a video by leader of extreme Islamic group, Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The world watches in horror as 223 of the reported 276 schoolgirls abducted from their boarding school last month in by Boko Haram, are threatened with slavery because they committed the sin of wanting an education. It’s reported several girls have already been sold over the borders and some married off to Boko Haram members for as little as $12. (See BBC News report)!
BBC Africa News May 5th reports: “God instructed me” leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married. “God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions,” Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden” has attacked numerous educational institutions in northern Nigeria and killed thousands since 2009.
What a wicked atrocity against these girls and their families! What God would commit such an atrocity in His name, against the very lives He created?
I believe the God of love and justice, is exposing the evil perpetrated against women and children in Nigeria, and around the world,through this terrible crime. By exposing this mass abduction of school girls in Nigeria, He is opening the eyes and ears of His people around the world to pray! We need to cry out for this country and these girls and their families. God calls us to Open your voice on behalf of those who have no voice! On behalf of the poor, desperate and needy! Proverbs 31:8-9
Thank God for the media exposing and raising our awareness. I witnessed first hand the terrible status of women in Nigeria in 2007 when God opened my eyes to the great need to train and equip women in the church to open our mouths on behalf of those still living in bondage and slavery and bring healing and freedom to captives.
In 2007 I was traveling with Joy (a beautiful Nigerian woman of spiritual influence) and a team of American women, in two vans, along miles of tree lined highway betweentwo cities. The journey was long with little traffic in either direction.
Suddenly our drivers came to an abrupt and sudden stop! Men appeared out of the trees. They had thrown out a plank of wood attached to a long rope, in front of our vehicles. The 6-8ft plank was covered with 6 inch nails which could have ripped our tires to pieces. The men pulled our vehicles off the road and began to question our drivers, search our vehicles, and press their faces up against the windows.
Inside our vans we were shaking and praying like never before. Hiding passports and money in our clothing we were silently praying every scripture we could think of for protection and deliverance. I was horrified to watch two young girls in the front van, venture out into the trees to use the bathroom, as the men searched our van! They had no idea the danger they were in! After detaining us for 90 minutes and taking money from the drivers, the men released us. We were never so thankful!
But we didn’t realize just how protected we had been until visiting a Pregnancy Crisis Home a few days later! I was in emotional overload. Meeting women with HIV who’d been cast out by their husbands who gave them the disease, hearing about the witchdoctors and spiritual oppression, our experience on the road and many other encounters with brokenness, evil and injustice, my heart could barely take more sadness. I had longed to be on mission in countries like this, to share Jesus with the brokenhearted. But I had no idea until Nigeria, how deep the brokenness was, how dark the evil is, and how impossible it is for us to overcome the darkness with good Christian intentions and our passion.
There comes a level of brokenness and pain which can only be met in total surrender to the power and healing work of the Holy Spirit, first in our own life and then allowing Him to pour Himself out through us into the lives of others. That is a cost. A high cost. Laying down my plans, my gifts, my mission and my heart, to follow Jesus into the dark andpainful places of hearts and lives devastated and broken by evil. Only our own experience of God, and complete trust in His power, His Name, His word and His extreme love to overcome evil, can equip us to break through these strongholds and minister to such brokenness.
As I reluctantly stepped inside the Pregnancy Crisis home that day I was drawn to a silent, sad looking young girl. She sat with her hands between her knees looking at the ground. I knelt down in front of her and asked her name. She whispered ”Ruth.” I asked Ruth about her family and her pregnancy and was stunned by her story.
Two months before, Ruth traveled on the local bus along the same route we traveled just days before. The bus was stopped by a group of men who came out of the trees. Women and children were pulled from the bus. She was taken into the trees and raped! Sometime later, I don’t know how, she made it to her home. Her mother was dead and hearing her story, herfather and brothers turned her out of the house because she had brought shame on the family! Alone and afraid she wandered villages and countryside until someone brought her to the Pregnancy Crisis home for help. There she learned she was pregnant.
In my mix of deep emotion for Ruth, I was shocked realizing how close we had come to being in Ruth’s situation.
This is just one story in a country where Believers are being tortured and persecuted, and where women and children have no value. In one area she visited, my friend Dolores met a woman who had no name!
Last year,my Nigerian sister Joy joined our Orlando Leaders Butterfly Training. It was the beginning of a vision being fulfilled. In 2007 after showing Magdalena Released from Shame to 300 women I asked Joy - who would follow up with so many broken women? “We don’t have anyone Liz. We have ministry for men, for children, for students, for businessmen. But we have no ministry to meet the brokenness of women in the church or out of the church. We have no women to follow up.”
From that time, Joy and I shared a vision to raise up women in the church who equipped in the word and empowered by the Holy Spirit would know how to minister to broken women and train others to be disciple makers.
Joy is currently in the USA with her husband in seminary. But her vision is to go back to Nigeria to encourage the believers, to raise up women who she will train and equip to minister healing to the broken-hearted and set captives free. The need is huge! It is a battle against the forces of darkness and evil atrocities. The church is at the forefront and is the target.
The brokenness among the 276 girls abducted last month, and their mothers who suffer the agonizing knowledge of what’s happening to their daughters, demands that the worldwide church response. We must not ignore this evil now brought to our attention.We must support our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
At our last training Joy shared “as many Christians have died under persecution in Nigeria in one year, as people who died in the Twin Towers in 9/11 – but it’s never reported!”
Perhaps this abduction of so many girls will stir the hearts of the world and the church to call out to God for His intervention on behalf of the Nigerian people, to stop the atrocities, to set these captives free. The door is opening – it is time for the people of God to declare and minister the truth of God’s love, His healing and His freedom to those who are captive, broken and downtrodden. (Isaiah 61:1-4).
You can pray for the situation in Nigeria by also praying for Joy and the women God will bring to her, to fulfill His vision to raise women up in the church in Nigeria to minister to the broken. She needs support and prayer for the task and responsibility. Pray for funding and for time away from her family to come for our next training in June in Orlando. She needs this encouragement, the fellowship and time to soak in God’s Presence and in His word. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them- those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also. Hebrews 12:3
Yours in His Love,
Founder & Executive Director