On February 16, 2017, the unexpected happened . . . God interjected Himself into Personhood Alliance's well-laid plans for 2017. I received a call from my friend Ricardo Davis, President of Georgia Right to Life, encouraging me to attend a meeting with a remarkable young woman, Dr. Ekene Osakwe, a renown Nigerian immunologist.
A Humphrey-Fullbright scholar on a one-year internship working in conjunction with Emory University and the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Osakwe's visit was to solicit our counsel and aid. She said, "I am returning to my country in a few months and God has given me the vision to reach vulnerable young women (11- 17) . . . victims of gender-based violence at the hands of the Boko Haram. They have been abducted and forced into sexual bondage. Many have escaped their tormentors only to find that their families reject their child of rape. I have heard that your pro-life organization is active in advocating for the life and well-being of these vulnerable children and their mothers. Will you help us bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to these widows and fatherless children?"
BRING BACK OUR GIRLS
Most Westerners are vaguely familiar with the internationally acclaimed "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign. In 2014, the Muslim extremists known as Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a girls school in the city of Chibok, Nigeria. Situated in the northeastern corner of Africa's most populous nation, these girls became the object of international outcry. To date, 170+ girls have escaped or been returned to their communities. Many discover that their ordeal is not yet over. The unfortunate truth is that these high-visibility girls are only 276 of an estimated 9,000+ that have been brutally kidnapped by the Boko Haram and are even now suffering indescribable sexual bondage, forced marriage, and in the cases of Christian women—forced conversion.
9000 WOMEN ABDUCTED
Consider Aisha. She was abducted from her village at age 15. She escaped a few months ago but had nowhere to turn. “My dream for the future is for God to help me,” Aisha said.
"Reports provided to the Nigerian government estimate that up to 9,000 women and girls have been abducted since the start of Boko Haram’s insurgency. Mr. Ahmad believes that at least 13,000 more are unaccounted for, and likely even more from areas that are too dangerous to assess."
THE MOST VIOLENT TERRORIST ORGNIZATION IN THE WORLD
The Nigerian army has been increasingly successful in stemming the advance of the world's most violent terrorist group—the Boko Haram, yet there appears to be a stalemate regarding any future negotiated cessation of hostilities. Responsible for more death than ISIS and ISIL combined and labeled by the UN as the most aggressive terrorist group in the world, these Muslim extremists have embedded themselves in remote islands of the Lake Chad region and their campaign to create a Muslim caliphate resonates with many of the impoverished young men in the region. The promise of a young wife is used as an inducement for recruiting new martyrs for the cause. The problem with martyrs is that they die, leaving behind a young widow, and in many cases, a young child who is unwelcomed and stigmatized "based on the sins of his/her father." Deuteronomy 24:16 says, "A child shall not be put to death for the crimes of his father." Yet, this is exactly what the extended families of these young widows are advising.
"Will you help a team of national church leaders to establish Houses of Refuge where we can provide physical security, emotional counseling (similar to that provided by American Pregnancy Resource Centers) and a spiritual sanctuary safe from the 'cultural storm'?" said Dr. Osakwe. Our answer was yes.
In July 2017, the US team of three traveled to Nigeria where we met with the denominational leaders in the capital city of Abuja. One of these leaders was the Executive Director of the largest church denomination in the affected region of northeast Nigeria. We were offered complete cooperation and a substantial amount of existing resources to begin to implement Dr. Osakwe's vision.
Our goal is $1.2 million dollars to establish Houses of Refuge for "these the least amongst us." This is an ongoing crisis. Will you help us by representing this need to your local church thereby bringing faith, hope, and love to young women with nowhere else to turn?
"‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’" Matthew 25:44-45
|A gift as small as $25 a month will feed, house and economically empower a young widow and her two small children.|
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