By Donna Parcell (Volunteer in Nigeria)
On April 24th we were able to accompany a team from the Swiss Embassy to visit Mubi to see the EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria) headquarters, schools, and several EYN churches. We saw the destroyed buildings and burned churches. It was difficult to see. The clinic at EYN headquarters was totally destroyed and lying in rubble. We observed places that had been bombed, with shrapnel still by the roadside. Abandoned military equipment was by the road. There were bullet holes in cars still parked in the compound. The EYN offices were vandalized and ransacked. The churches were burned. But rising out of the ashes is an unquenchable spirit of hope and reliance on God. The people continue to worship in the shadow of their burned churches. Community unity is very strong. The people are relying on each other and on God. There is much work to do for healing and peace, but the hand of God is at work.
While visiting a church in Mubi, I met Mrs, Gahara Bella. On October 29, 2014 she was at home, the children were in school, her husband was out on the farm. She heard gun shots and people screaming to run for your life. She didn’t know what was going on or where her family was. Filled with terror she started to run. There was no time to take anything. Her children escaped through holes in the wall at school. She and her younger children headed for the mountains, as they are traditionally thought of as safe places. They escaped to Cameroon. Meanwhile her husband and oldest son tried to escape via the road. Many men tried to escape on the roads while the women and children ran for the mountains. The roads were blocked, and many of the men were shot, including her husband. Her son hid himself under sheaves of maize until the soldiers were gone and was able to escape. Several months later she still had no word of her husband. When Mubi was reopened she went to search for him. The soldiers had left his ID on him. He had been shot and killed and was left by the road. She was able to identify him by his clothes and identification. Now she fully relies on God. She trusts Him for all things and is hopeful.
We met with women’s groups from several other EYN churches and discussed their trials, concerns, and needs. Food and water are the two most prevalent needs. They escaped without taking anything, and all of their possessions and food were taken or destroyed. The rainy season is quickly approaching, and all crops have been destroyed and there is not time to replant. The livestock has all been taken. The bore holes have been vandalized so there is not access to clean water. There is no source of income. Their homes have been destroyed. They are still living in constant fear and find it difficult to trust their Muslim neighbors. In the midst of their extreme trials, their faith is strong. They are working together and trust God in all things.