On 19 February it will be the 2nd anniversary of the kidnapping of Leah Sharibu and her fellow students from their school in Dapchi, Borno State, Nigeria. While all the girls were released one month later (except for five who died during the ordeal), Leah remains in captivity because of her refusal to convert to Islam.
Leah’s mom, Rebecca, all she wants is for her to be returned home.
Open Doors interviewed Reverend Gideon Para-Malam, who has been walking closely with and supporting Leah’s family since the beginning of their ordeal. He encouraged OD supporters to continue praying for Leah and her family.
WHAT CAN WE AS THEIR FAITH COMMUNITY DO FOR THE SHARIBU FAMILY AND LEAH?
Firstly, we must pray constantly. This is also my commitment. It is important that we, their faith family, keep praying. The Bible orders us to pray without ceasing. We know that God can release her in His sovereign power, but He wants us to persistently and faithfully ask Him. We do not always understand His ways, but we trust He knows best. He is our Father and He has a plan much bigger than we can ever understand.
WOULD YOU AGREE THAT LEAH IS THE FACE OF A MUCH BIGGER AND TERRIBLE PHENOMENON TAKING PLACE IN NIGERIA?
Yes, this is true. It’s possible that there are hundreds of Nigerian women that have been kidnapped. We only know a few by name. And make no mistake, it’s not only women but men and boys are kidnapped too, forced to fight for these militants in the name of Islam.
It’s not only Boko Haram, the Fulani [militants] are also responsible for kidnappings. These terrorists claim they marry them in the name of Islam, that they have converted them. The reports say that the women are used as sex slaves. It’s criminal, a human rights violation and that is why I feel the government, and international community, needs to do more about the ongoing situation. We need to protect our children, our women.
The most heartbreaking part is I can’t even tell you how many people these terrorists have taken. When some of the women are able to escape, we get an idea of how many we have lost. However, this is not always possible. Mostly they just take groups of women – hundreds at a time and they get lost in the numbers.
Open Doors calls on supporters to continue praying for Leah Sharibu and her family.
- Pray that He brings Leah home in His time. Pray that the government will secure Leah and all the other Nigerians that are held captive’s release.
- Pray for Leah to be strong. She is an example to all of us
- Pray that God will stir the spirits of those Boko Haram commanders and soldiers to see through Leah’s faith who the true Ruler is.
- Please pray for Nathan, Rebecca and Donald and all the other families affected by kidnappings.
To Stand With Them
Open Doors’ goal is to “strengthen what remains and is about to die” (Rev 3:2).