Nigerian Brethren Hold Christmas Celebrations Despite the Threat of Violence

Markus Jauro

This graph summarizes the losses suffered by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the terrorist violence experienced by northern Nigeria. EYN refers to a local congregation as an LCC, which stands for Local Church Council, and refers to a district as a DCC, which stands for District Church Council. LCB refers to a preaching point called a Local Church Branch.

The Global Mission and Service office is sharing a letter from Samuel Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), about the Christmas celebrations of the Nigerian Brethren that were held despite the constant threat of violence from the Boko Haram extremist Islamist sect. Excerpts from the letter follow below.

The Global Mission and Service office expresses appreciation to Virlina District for its collection of relief for Nigerian Brethren, and appreciation to all those who contributed to an additional $15,000 for the EYN Compassion Fund through donations and gifts over the Christmas season. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director, reports that a large donation of $3,300 came from just one congregation.

For more about the ministry of the church in Nigeria go to www.brethren.org/nigeria .

A letter from EYN president Samuel Dante Dali: Christmas celebration event in EYN 2013

The deadly Bokko Haram [an extremist Islamist sect] came up with a new strategy just some few weeks to Christmas. Instead of attacking civilians in their various villages they started mounting road blocks on Maiduguri Gwoza road. They were actively doing what they call stop and search for every car on that road for some days. The government tried to stop them but they will always have their way to do what they want to do.

With the above development, Christians who are from the northeast but working in different cities like Maiduguri, Potiskum, Bauchi, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Lago, and all the Hausa states, became indecisive about traveling for Christmas.

The attack on Ngoshe market on Monday just before they burnt down Arbokko town in the same area of Gwoza caused more fear. During that market attack they [Boko Haram] looted every foodstuff they saw, and money, and kidnapped young girls to cook for them.

Starting the 15th of December, the road leading to Yola became very busy with lots of traffic. People refused to go through Maiduguri and diverted to Yola. The assumption was that people might not travel for Christmas since the road was dangerous, but the case was really different. People traveled home to see their relations who are under attack, condole those who lost their dear ones, and also to help them with food and clothes, and to sympathize with them. Most churches in cities like Abuja, Jos, Kano, Kaduna, and other places were almost empty [because the people went to their home villages for Christmas].

Glory be to God. With His help and the effort of the government that put more security in places of worship, Christmas went well and we are hoping for successful and peaceful new celebrations to come….

We thank all brothers and sisters both within and outside Nigeria for all your encouragement, support of all kinds. As we cross over into the New Year 2013 we will sing a new song of thanksgiving to the Lord for His expected miracle of peace and healing in Nigeria.

God bless you all.

— Greetings from EYN president Samuel Dante Dali