Boko Haram threat halts pastoral training

“Boko Haram” is translated “Western education is sinful.”

Nigeria (CBI/MNN) — The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram is on a rampage across northern Nigeria. Their violence has caused a prison ministry to postpone its training for hundreds of local pastors.

“We thought that if we had a conference with 200 Christian pastors, that would just be an unwise target to set up, especially when we could do that at a later date,” explains Dr. David Schuringa of Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI).

CBI is still moving forward with the opening of its second satellite campus in Nigeria, despite the escalating violence.

“Actually, your listeners are the first to hear about it,” shares Schuringa. “This thing is up, it is running, and it’s a marvelous thing.”

Schuringa had appointed Dr.Tim Spykstra to lead the pastors’ conference, now re-scheduled for early April. Dr. Spykstra had also planned to visit CBI’s satellite campus in Rivers State, Nigeria, and to attend the launch of the country’s new campus, located in Akwa Ibom State.

However, a travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department recommended against all but essential travel. Despite plans to hire a personal security detachment, CBI decided that the trip was unduly dangerous.

Boko Haram is fighting to establish a strictly-Islamic state in Nigeria. Their attacks over the past four years have claimed more than 1,200 lives, according to UN figures. They are increasingly targeting civilians; Boko Haram murdered more than 100 people in Borno state over the past four days.

Last week, militants raided a school and burned students alive.  

Despite the rising threat of violence, CBI Nigeria carries on its work in the country’s prisons. Over half of Nigerian inmates have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial in overcrowded, outdated, and reprehensible conditions.

“In the developing world, there are so many people in prison who have not been charged with a crime,” Schuringa adds.

Prisoners in Nigeria often lack key resources like mattresses, clean water and Bibles. Along with meeting these material needs, CBI introduces the Gospel and encourages spiritual growth through an extensive discipleship program. Learn more about the program  here.

Will you take a moment today to pray for Nigeria?

“It’s a matter simply of praying for peace, praying for stability in the government and so forth, so that the cause of Christ can proceed unhindered,” Schuringa suggests.