Nigeria (MNN) — “When my husband died, I was in a state of total despair, confusion, and pain. Losing all hope, I would have committed suicide, but the Spirit of God greatly encouraged me through songs, prayers and His Word,” says Damaris Atsen. Damaris is one of many Christian widows in Northern Nigeria struggling to survive under the extreme persecution of Boko Haram. A fatal attack on her husband as he was helping a blind man home left Damaris alone with four children to support. They include Christopher, Dorcas, Ezra, and Blessing, an adopted orphan.
Open Doors is standing in the gap for widows like Damaris. “I have been provided with food, clothing, school fees, and most of all: prayers,” Damaris says. “At the time I lost my husband, I felt useless and hopeless, but God sent you people [Open Doors workers] as angels to raise me up and give me hope.” Open Doors helped Damaris establish a firewood business to raise funds and a farm for breeding chickens.
Over years of ministry in Nigeria, Open Doors has helped hundreds of widows like Damaris through vocational training programs. Open Doors has also assisted widows with school fees for their children–one of their greatest sources of joy.
Forgiving the Muslim terrorists who hate Christians, freedom, and peace, is challenging for Damaris. However, Damaris says, “If I do not forgive, the Lord Jesus will never forgive me. So I have forgiven, and God will help me to love everybody. It is not easy, but it is God that will give us the grace to love.”
Damaris describes the alarming state of the Church in Northern Nigeria. “As a Body, we have suffered a lot of loss as a result of the activities of Boko Haram and other Islamic extremists. They have bombed and burned down many churches, killed many people, and destroyed many properties.”
Even through the struggles, Christians are hopeful and ask for constant prayer. “We as believers in Nigeria are appealing to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to continue supporting us through prayers,“ says Damaris. “We are confident that whatever we are facing now, God will make a way, and the entire situation will work out for the glory of His name.”
You can lend a hand in Nigeria by going to the Open Doors website. Pray for Christian widows and families in Nigeria. Pray for strength and hope. Pray that Nigeria would see peace.