Chibok Kidnapped Girls – One Year On

It’s one year ago today, 14 April, since 276 girls were abducted from their school in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Although a number managed to escape, it’s believed that 219 girls are still in captivity.

The abduction of the girls sparked global outrage. As well as a mass following on social media, the #bringbackourgirls campaign has received support from high profile international politicians and celebrities.

Ceremonies are due to be staged today in various cities around the world to mark the anniversary and appeal for more to be done to find the girls. A procession is being held in the capital, Abuja, with 219 girls taking part to represent each missing girl.

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According to an Amnesty International report, Boko Haram has abducted at least 2000 women and girls since the start of 2014, forcing them into sexual slavery and in some cases they have been trained to use bombs and shoot guns and have even been forced to carry out attacks on their own villages. In some cases it is suspected that children as young as ten years old have been used by Boko Haram to carry out suicide bombing attacks.

Friends In The West founder and CEO, Ray Barnett, has today made a fresh appeal to the Christian community to pray. We understand the pain that the relatives and friends of the girls are going through and so we’re careful not to come out with glib statements or to marginalise the suffering that some are going through. But we must do what is ‘right’ in God’s eyes, even if we don’t understand or even when the circumstances make us feel like giving up.

1 Peter 3:12 tells us:

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

Things may not have happened as quickly as we would have liked, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. And it doesn’t change the fact that God is a ‘just’ God and ultimately good will triumph over evil.

Time and time again in my life I have encountered situations that looked hopeless, particularly in relation to Christians being imprisoned for their faith or facing suffering in some way. Sometimes it was almost at the point when we were ready to give up, but as we earnestly prayed, miracles took place and very negative situations were turned around and we rejoiced and gave thanks to God who answers prayer.

So let’s keep on praying. Let’s keep on believing. To those who are suffering – there are many more people who love you, pray for you and want to bless you than those who want to harm you. God will be with you in your pain if you look to Him and His ears will be attentive to your prayer.

To Christians worldwide – please pray that the Chibok girls will be soon be reunited with their families and that all their relatives and friends will know God’s peace and comfort as they face this challenge. Please pray for the new government in Nigeria, that the country will experience reconciliation between Christians and Muslims and that peace and prosperity will be theirs.

Thank you and God Bless!

Ray Barnett