While some progress is being made in restoring peace in Wukari and the surrounding area, major violence broke out between peasant farmers and herdsmen in the middle belt region on January 1, 2018 and led to the brutal killing of many innocent people. Peasant farmers, who are mostly Christians, accuse herders of migrating to grasslands in their areas, thereby damaging crops and making farming difficult. The herders, who are mostly Muslims, accuse farmers of squeezing them out of traditional grazing routes.
This ugly development left people in Nigeria and beyond shocked and dumbfounded. World Renew responded by providing trauma healing and mental health counseling sessions for immediate family members of those killed in the attack. For three full days, across four locations, 149 Nigerians met with teams of experienced trauma healing and mental health counseling facilitators. Sessions were hosted by the Universal Reformed Christian Church congregations in Gbajimba, Agasha, and Anyiin, with funding from Artevel Foundation.
Here are testimonies from a few participants:
- Robert lost his brother when unknown gunmen stormed the Tomatar community around daybreak on January 1. Robert says that the extensive sharing and the scripture-based trauma healing manual have been very helpful and have given him a new perspective on forgiveness and grieving. Robert says he has been extremely shaken by the killing of his brother and gives thanks to God for the strength received from the trauma healing program, which he hopes will help him remain unshaken in his faith and serve as a peacemaker in his community.
- Bunde lost his father and sister in the attack. Before the healing sessions, he was overcome by severe anger and bitterness and thoughts of revenge. Bunde testifies that he is beginning to feel differently after discussing and sharing with others and with encouragement from the Bible and the facilitators. He says he now knows that forgiving those who killed his father and sister frees him from mental torture. He says he has recommitted his life to God and will trust Him to face the future.
- Uke lost his wife and three of his children during the January 2018 attack. The attackers who invaded Uke’s house also chopped off the left arm of his 16 year-old daughter and shot another daughter in the leg. Uke is deeply hurt and confused. He appreciates the opportunity to share his pains and says he experienced a great deal of relief when people listened intently to him and gave him permission to express his emotions and laments. Uke requests fervent prayers to be able to experience peace, to see how God will work things out in his life, and to come out strong and unshakable in the faith.
- A mother lost her only daughter who was carrying her first pregnancy. Through their participation in the trauma healing sessions, she and her son-in-law received encouragement and counsel to face the future. The mother says the healing sessions have helped her to begin to identify God’s hand in the midst of the storm and focus on how God wants to take her and her son-in-law through it.
Trauma healing allows deeply traumatized persons to express their hurts and lay them before God. We express appreciation to God and to you as valuable supporters of World Renew and these efforts.
Prayers for Nigeria
- Thank God for the timeliness of the trauma healing ministry in Nigeria and other parts of the world where people are hurting
- Thank God for successful completion of trauma healing sessions facilitated by John and Christine Breuker who served as World Renew volunteers in Nigeria in January and February.
- Thank God for faithful donors, prayer supporters, and partners
- Continue to uphold the church in Nigeria to be light and salt and perform her prophetic role at all times
- Pray for good governance by those in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors
- Pray for an end to terror and other violent activities in Nigeria
World Renew Nigeria