Brethren Staff Visit Nigeria, Assess Crisis Response with EYN and Mission Partners

Church of the Brethren staff have been visiting in Nigeria to meet with Nigerian Brethren leadership and mission partners, and to assess the Nigeria Crisis Response. Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer and associate executive Roy Winter, who heads up Brethren Disaster Ministries, attended meetings and traveled with Nigerian Brethren leaders to visit, among other sites, the EYN headquarters near Mubi which were evacuated last October when the Boko Haram Islamist insurgents took over the area.

The partnership meetings were held with representatives from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), and Mission 21, a longterm mission partner based in Switzerland (formerly known as Basel Mission).

The following is excerpted from a brief report that Winter provided by e-mail:

Jay and I have had a good and productive trip. We have been very busy with little time for reflection or keeping up. Yesterday we visited the EYN headquarters in Kwarhi. It was really helpful to see what damage there was and what the road ahead looks like. While a bomb went off and destroyed much of new clinic and some of the blast did shrapnel-like damage to some other buildings and the large conference center, most of the rest of the damage is more like vandalism…many broken windows, damaged doors, small amounts of looting, and the pulling down of the ceiling. Also the computer training program was destroyed.

We also visited one of the temporary schools supporting IDPs [internally displaced people] in the Yola area, visited the land where construction is beginning for a new relocation center, and went to the American University here in Yola. In Jos we had two days of the partner consultation with Mission 21 and EYN, then two days in the office talking with different departments and making plans for 2016.

I leave feeling like there is less damage to the EYN headquarters than we could have hoped. It really is amazing they [Boko Haram] did little damage to Kulp Bible College and the headquarters is functional after some cleaning.

I was very pleased to hear how many churches and schools have been helping with the crisis. In the US we don’t really hear much about all the activities of EYN churches, and I now believe they are doing much more than we realized.

So now begins the road home and I am thinking of the next phase of our response. It will be a long journey, and there are some areas [of northeast Nigeria] that will be unsafe for years, or always? But many [displaced Nigerians] are heading home, and schools around Kwarhi are going again, and people are finding a way forward. For all this we can praise God.

— Roy Winter is the Church of the Brethren’s associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more information about the Nigeria Crisis Response go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .