By Zakariya Musa, EYN
Charles Ezra, about 70 years old, assists on the Disaster Relief Management Medical Team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). He was abducted Saturday, Dec. 4, on his way home from his farm. He rejoined his family after three terrible days in the hands of his abductors.
“They stopped other people before and allowed them to pass, I arrived the scene where one of them said ‘that is the man,’” Ezra reported. “I tried to run into the bush but they caught me from behind, blindfolded, put me on a motorcycle, and took me through the bush. I was beaten many times. I couldn’t eat the whole duration. They threw food on the ground for me to eat in a cave where I was kept, and [I was] threatened to be killed,” he said.
Pray for the people who were recently abducted on the Maiduguri Road, and many others who are still unaccounted for.
In more news from EYN, president Joel S. Billi has released his Christmas message:
1st December, 2021
To the Pastors and all fellow Believers who are the Ecclesia of Christ.
We thank God for yet another Christmas. Our hearts glorify the LORD for His protection and guidance from January to date. He has seen us through turbulence and temptations.
Many of our members have lost their beloved ones within this year. Your bereavements sadden our hearts. Kindly accept our hearty condolences on behalf of the entire Ekklesiya. May our good LORD give you the fortitude to bear the loss.
PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH
It is unfortunate that the matter of security in our country has slipped through the fingers of our leaders and security apparatus. Consequently, churches and Christians are now vulnerable, and nobody seems to care about our vulnerability. It is sad to hear from the lips of some of the leaders that there is nothing they can do about the insecurity because it is a global trend. We have suffered enormous casualties innocently not in accidents or natural disaster but by barbaric people who claim to be working for God. Our steadfastness will make them know that we are truly serving a living God. Let us stay away from all evil things that will disqualify us before Christ.
We advise all farmers not to be extravagant or reckless in handling what they have harvested. It is unfortunate that some people sell their products right on the farms at give-away amounts. Please, let us restrain ourselves from such behavior except otherwise. You will agree with me that many farmers this year suffered crop losses from poor weather and lack of fertilizer. Therefore let us be wise and careful. Bearing in mind the plan to remove the fuel subsidy in the coming year (2022).
It is our fervent and passionate prayer that all those who are going to get married this Christmas through the new year, may God who is the creator of marriage establish to them Christ-centered homes, in the name of Jesus. As you plan to get married work within your income and do not compete or compare yourself with others. We also pray for the officiating clergymen to take Christian marriage with solemnness in every sphere. People who are still behaving and acting in a worldly manner by eloping in order to discredit the sacredness of biblical marriage, should be disciplined and treated as inactive members. Parents should also see the need to tell their children that if they eloped, they will not be happy with them.
Many people term the Christmas period as rush hours and drive recklessly despite the congestion of the roads and amounts of accidents which sometimes claim lives. Therefore let us drive with patience and diligence. If you are a passenger, it is your right to caution your driver to drive attentively.
We want to make a passionate call to all members to welcome any pastor that would be sent to you with outstretched arms without prejudice. Transfer is always for the good and growth of the church and it should not be misunderstood. Always avoid the temptation to have the desire to choose pastors for yourselves if given the opportunity or attempt to induce leaders to do what you want. Pastors and all workers should not be choosy or selective of where they want to work. All pastors have covenanted during ordination to work round the clock to ensure holistic growth of the church and not to think of “comfort zones.”
Celebrate Christmas with Christ the Master of Christmas. All your celebration should be centered on Him. Behave as expected during and after Christmas. We are encouraged to help and put smiles on the faces of the widows, orphans, aged, and destitute. Christ’s love is universal, likewise our own.
Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Rev. Joel S. Billi.
— Zakariya Musa is head of Media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
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