Encourage The Family Of An Abducted Christian
When Christians are kidnapped because of their faith in Jesus, their families are left behind, often not knowing what has happened.
Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic group, abducted 109 girls from a school in Nigeria in February 2018. A month later, most of the girls were released. Leah Sharibu, a Christian, was not.
Leah, who was 15 when she was abducted, was held because she refused to deny her faith in Jesus. Though she was offered the opportunity to leave with her friends if she converted to Islam, she held onto Jesus, no matter the cost.
Leah’s parents, Nathan and Rebecca, are proud of their daughter’s strong faith in Christ, but are constantly worried about her safety and praying for her return.
“I am very sad but also jubilant because my daughter did not denounce Christ,” said Leah’s father.
“The situation has opened my eyes to see and understand that Christianity comes along with suffering and pain. If our master Jesus, who was blameless, was persecuted, how much more will we who are His followers.”
Leah’s mother added, “When I remember that Christians all over the world are praying for Leah, it gives me strength to carry on.”
Nathan and Rebecca have had no news of their daughter since October 2018. Please write to them to encourage them to continue trusting in the Lord amidst fear and uncertainty.
Please send cards and letters by 20 January to PO Box 51236 Tawa, Wellington 5249
- Print clearly in English
- Be brief and encouraging
- Provide your name and country (not your full address)
- It is best to send greeting cards, artwork from children and postcards (send postcards in an envelope, do not write Open Doors' address on the postcard)
- Please don't mention Open Doors
- Don't send money
- Please don't criticise a country or make proposals to help
"I am so happy because I know that I am not alone and that other believers out there are praying for me."
– Mercy James, Nigeria
Pastor Dayaratne and Mala
In 2001, Pastor Dayaratne and his wife Mala opened the Agape Children’s Village in Sri Lanka, caring for abandoned, orphaned and abused children. Due to government pressure and a media smear campaign, Agape Children’s Village was forced to close in April 2013. As they wait to appeal their case, they continue their work through Agape Without Walls, educating children in rural villages and visiting the children who used to stay with them, now on the streets. Currently at Agape one of the buildings is being renovated, jointly supported by Open Doors contributions and the pastor’s own finances.
At the beginning of 2016 Open Doors New Zealand ran a writing campaign to encourage Pastor Dayaratne and Mala. In July these letters, together with cards from supporters all around the world, were delivered to the family. They were received with great joy.
“The main weapon we have as Christians to face persecution is prayer. We are here because our Christian brothers and sisters prayed for us.” - Pastor Dayaratne
We asked Christians in New Zealand to write letters of encouragement to Sharifa from Cameroon. Sharifa’s husband was killed by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, leaving her alone to care for her three children. Open Doors has been supporting her financially and recently visited Sharifa’s family to deliver the letters of encouragement.
“When I see the letters, I realise that brothers and sisters are thinking about me in my suffering, in my difficulty,” Sharifa said. “The kids have been doing well in school, but Perside and Charite have often had malaria which keeps them out of school. I have also been struggling with malaria. Thank you so much for bringing the cards. Please thank all who have been writing. As they are praying for me, so am I for them. May God bless them all!”
Open Doors will continue to minister to the family. Sharifa asked us to please continue praying for their health, that the Lord will cause an awakening amongst the church members and that they will persevere in the faith.
Earlier this year, Open Doors launched a letter-writing campaign for Mercy James in Nigeria - a victim of Boko Haram, who was abducted from her hometown and held in captivity for over five weeks. When Open Doors met Mercy last year, she had been left to live in an internally displaced people's (IDP) camp. Open Doors sought to help her with counselling, medical expenses, income generation and encouragement through your letters.
Now 23, Mercy forms a much more hopeful picture. "The transformation has been so radical, that was hard to recognise her," wrote an Open Doors worker. Today, Mercy lives with a foster family, and with the support of Open Doors, has started a tailoring business.
Open Doors, together with international visitors, went to see Mercy in order to pray with her, encourage her, and deliver the all-important letters. When she saw the letters, Mercy burst into joyful laughter. "I am so happy because I know that I am not alone and that other believers out there are praying for me. I am overwhelmed and my heart is filled with joy seeing Open Doors here again. Words cannot express the joy and peace I have."
Jeovani, Steven and Dieu
In 2015 we ran a writing campaign for Jeovani, and were overwhelmed by your response. We're excited to bring you an update on this brave boy and his friends.
Life for Jeovani, Steven and Dieu changed dramatically on April 14, 2013, when Séléka forces fired three RPG missiles into their Sunday church meeting in Bangui. Seven people died and 33 were seriously injured. Since 2013, CAR’s capital city, Bangui, has been rocked by sectarian violence between the Islamic extremist Séléka rebels and forces of the Christian majority. Sitting on a bench in Sunday school when two of the missiles exploded through the roof, Jeovani’s legs were so badly damaged, they both needed to be amputated. Both Steven and Dieu also lost a leg.
Open Doors has been a constant presence in the lives of these three boys over the last two years, and have recently had them fitted with new prosthetic legs. Still struggling to walk, Jeovani has had extra surgery to help ease his movement and Dieu recently lost his mother to a protracted illness. As all three families are suffering financially, Open Doors has been paying for the boy’s school fees.