by Jack Minor –
With the U.S. reportedly poised to send troops into the region, Christians in Nigeria are providing an example of how believers should stand during intense persecution.
Last year over 2,000 Christians in the country were murdered by Muslim extremists. While it is often tempting in trials such as this to pray for deliverance, the Christians in Nigeria are praying for something else.
Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, said the Christians are praying for the strength to stand strong.
Moeller said, “They don’t ask for us to pray that persecution would stop. They pray instead, that they would be strong in the midst of persecution, and to empower them to be bold witnesses despite the obvious persecution in many places.”
Members of the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, which, when translated, means “Western education is a sin,” have conducted a series of attacks around the country recently. According to reports, hundreds have died, the majority of them Christians, and at least 10 churches have been burned.
Christian leaders in the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, told Compass Direct News that, “When the Muslim extremists went to New Jerusalem, they said, any Christian they met who could not recite the Islamic creed was instantly shot and killed or slaughtered like a lamb.”
In response to the violence by the Islamic extremists, the Obama administration has announced it is sending troops into the region. While U.S. officials have refused to confirm a troop deployment, wired.com and the U.K. Guardian have both reported that U.S. troops are headed to Nigeria to help local forces battle the Boko Haram.
Nigeria is a large oil producer and, according the U.S. state department, Nigeria is estimated to have 36 billion barrels of oil and 100 trillion feet of natural gas reserves.
The Obama administration has also recently announced the U.S. was sending 100 U.S. Special Forces to Uganda to help the government fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has been accused of murder, rape and kidnapping. In a letter to Congress, Obama said that the troops will not participate in any fighting, but are there simply as advisors. “Although the US forces are combat equipped… they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.” The letter did not specify how long the deployment would last.