By Cliff Kindy, Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer reporting from Nigeria
Names abbreviated for security purposes.
Rev. L explains he is the district secretary for Attagara District of EYN and is from Attagara Village. On June 3, 2014, Boko Haram raided Attagara. Sixty-eight people died in the attack and sixty-five of them were from EYN. The raiders burned seven churches including the only EYN congregation. Unfortunately the other eleven churches in his district fell to the flames of Boko Haram as well as most of the EYN churches in the three neighboring districts.
Rev. L fled across the border to Cameroon while his wife and children fled to Michika. When Michika came under attack in early September the family reunited in Cameroon. Their new home was a refugee camp run by the United Nations. There were thirty thousand neighbors in their new home. The well that supplied the camp ran dry, the nearby river is without water now during the dry season and the nearest village is far enough away that those going for water may choose to stay overnight.
The UN sometimes only brings enough food for seven thousand people so the community has been good and shared what is available. The camp is far enough from the border that Boko Haram raids into Cameroon have not reached the camp but security officials from Cameroon recently rounded up nine people from the camp they accused of being Boko Haram.
People want to return to Nigeria but there continues to be very high risk in their home communities. Boko Haram dumped dead bodies in the wells of Attagara. All the homes are burned there. Even if Boko Haram leaves will they plant explosives as they depart and what about the family members who joined Boko Haram and choose to live in Attagara? But how long will Cameroon continue to host these visitors in the UN camp? Is there a safe place to go in Nigeria?
Most of the EYN refugees are farmers and would be willing to stay in Cameroon. Rev. L plans to visit the government to see if there is a large plot of land where the refugees could settle and farm. He also wants to see about some smaller plots to build five EYN churches. He has decided to stay in Cameroon and work with the church.
You see there are fifteen thousand EYN members in the camp. Since the camp is divided into five wards or sections each ward has an EYN congregation that numbers about three thousand people. There are three ordained EYN pastors and twenty-three evangelists very engaged in the life of these congregations. There have been fifty-three baptisms and two hundred thirty-five births among the EYN members. Their neighbors in the camp are about nine thousand Catholics, four thousand Muslims and one or two thousand Christians from other denominations. Are you interested in helping to plant new EYN churches in Cameroon?