By Cliff Kindy, December 8, 2014
The three-member Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) team and the four-member Mission 21 team ate breakfast early to head out to the building project site of the Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiatives (LCGI). LCGI is an interfaith nonprofit focusing presently on this effort to house those displaced by the attacks of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.
Samuel Dali, who participated in the dedication and is President of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), estimates that as many as 170,000 EYN members may be presently displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict ravaging northeast Nigeria. But many other Christians and many Muslims are also displaced by that fighting.
So Marcus Gamache and the LCGI committee have been building relationships, buying land, registering the 63 families and 394 people with the Nigeria security office and securing funding so that today’s dedication service could move ahead. Those are the families and the people who will settle this newly-purchased farm land. The community will lie on the edge of the rugged foothills of the mountains on the north edge of Abuja, the capitol of Nigeria.
One might assume that since Boko Haram says it is Muslim, displaced EYN members might not welcome a home next to a Muslim family. But this interfaith planning group has realized that building good relationships across faith lines is one way to break down those animosities that lead to war.
BDM and Mission 21 have funded and encouraged the efforts of LCGI. A line of men and women, some of the ones who will soon move into these homes, carried blocks from where they were formed down the road to the first home where they became the foundation. A bore hole will be dug this next week to provide the water needed for this large construction project. Marcus estimates that the community of homes should be completed by March.
Four EYN pastors and their families are among the new settlers. A worship center for Muslims and one for Christians will be part of this new community. Spiritual undergirding will be essential for this new beginning.
This is a small start with thousands of people yet to settle temporarily or permanently, but the LCGI committee trusts this site can supply a model that will inspire others. The riches of God are new every morning.