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This morning at church, our Sunday School teacher told us stories about how dangerous it is to be a Christian in Nigeria. Nigeria has been in the news a lot lately because people have been attacking Christians and Christian churches a lot—sometimes, every week! I was talking to my friend Noelle after church, and she reminded me of a story she learned about last year.
It happened in June, 2006. A woman in Nigeria met with a group of kids and told them how Jesus had lived with men long ago, and how he had died to pay for all the things every one of us has done wrong, including them. And, she explained how Jesus came back to life, proving he alone is God. She gave the kids some things to read more about Jesus, then she left.
But, as soon as she was gone, some men who had seen her talking to the kids came and asked the kids what she had said. When they heard that she had told them about Jesus, they decided she had to be killed. They don’t want anyone to talk about Jesus as God.
The leaders got hundreds of people to search for the woman. When they found her, they attacked her. But, police rescued her and took her to the police station. The mob threatened to attack the police station, so the police tried to smuggle her out a back door. But, they couldn’t get away. There were too many people in the mob. Three police officers had been hurt. And, the police left the woman behind. The mob killed her.
All this woman had wanted to do was help kids understand how much Jesus loves them. And the crowd killed her, before the police even had a chance to get her name or find out where she was from.
Noelle said it made her cry, to think that the woman died when no one even knew her name. But, we talked about that. And, you know what we discovered? Someone did know her name. Jesus. He says in the Bible that he knows us so well that he knows how many hairs we have on our heads. Nothing happens that he doesn’t know about. And, even though sometimes terrible things happen (like when the crowd demanded that Jesus be killed a long time ago), God makes something good come out of every situation. We just don’t always see what it is right away.
“Dear God, please help all the people of Nigeria to hear about Jesus’ love. Please be with all of your people, and bless them. Make them strong, and give them the love they need to forgive the ones who hurt them, just like Jesus did on the cross. And, please take care of this woman’s family, and all the families hurt by the violence in Nigeria. Thank you that you know everything about each of us, and that no one is invisible to you. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
For a printable version of today’s story, click here.
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