Pray, Fast, Lament, and Bear Witness: Nigerian Brethren Give Testimony

Mark Baliles, pastor, Indian Creek Church of the Brethren
Sharon K. Williams

In April 2014, the world was stunned by the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok, Nigeria.  Most of the girls are still in captivity, sold as brides in other countries, or dead. The violence perpetrated against Christians and Muslims by the Boko Haram before that incident has continued and escalated over these past eight months: murders, kidnappings, rapes, and the destruction of homes, businesses, and church properties.

a-displaced-family-in-nigeriaThe Church of the Brethren has a close connection with the persecution and suffering in Nigeria.  Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) is one of the major Anabaptist denominations in that country. The majority of the schoolgirls are members of EYN congregations. Over 170,000 church members and 2,094 pastors and evangelists are known to be displaced, 8,083 members killed, and 1,390 (of 2,280) local churches destroyed. Many other persons are feared to be dead.[1]

Indian Creek Church of the Brethren, Harleysville, is hosting Nigerian church leader Rev. Dr. Musa Mambula and his wife, Sarah, for a first-hand information session on Sunday, January 11, 5-6 pm. An author, speaker, and the Spiritual Director of the EYN, Reverend Mambula will share about the suffering of the Nigerian churches, and how they have sought to survive and to live with love and compassion in the midst of such violence.

EYN has issued a fervent call for all Christians to join them in prayer, fasting, lament, and bearing witness to the power of Jesus Christ in addressing this crisis. Mennonite World Conference has called “for its churches to offer a shower of prayer, blessing, solidarity, and financial support for the suffering church in Nigeria.”[2]

children-rejoice-over-bowlsThe Church of the Brethren in the U.S., under the guidance of EYN leaders, is assisting with resources for the distribution of food and supplies, temporary housing, relocation of Kulp Bible College and EYN headquarters, establishment of Care Centers, and trauma healing ministries. Few international relief organizations are working in Nigeria. A week of prayer and fasting was observed by the denomination in August. This practice continues in many congregations.

Rev. Mambula will also share with the Christopher Dock Mennonite High School community in the chapel service on Monday, January 12. An online interview with Musa and Sarah Mumbula is also available (start at 29 minutes).

The Indian Creek Church of the Brethren is located on Route 63, one mile west of Route 113.

[1] Roy Winter, “Brethren Disaster Ministries Leader Returns from Trip to Nigeria,” December 22, 2014.

[2]MWC Issues Urgent Appeal for Prayer for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria,” December 2, 2014.