On September 2, 2015 at Noon, the Dr. Rebecca Dali with her staff and some volunteers of the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiative (CCEPI), distributed a bag of maize, a mat, a blanket, a bottle (or bag) of soap, a pair of sandals, and a dress for young girls to over 300 widows and their children at her residence at Boulder Hill. The dresses, sandals, and bags of soap were provided by the Nigerian government and the rest were purchased with money given by the Church of the Brethren through the Nigeria Crisis Fund.
Dr. Rebecca and her staff had interviewed every one and recorded their stories and needs. Those who had multiple losses and had physically suffered as well, she would share with me their story as they were receiving their portion of the distribution. Several of the stories involved seeing their husbands and sons killed with axes, seeing husbands, brothers, and uncles killed in line-ups, they themselves wounded by gunfire, seeing their homes and possessions burned and confiscated, and their villages destroyed, and one young woman’s left arm mutilated by gunfire and her throat slit and left for dead, and how they escaped, hid, ran and walked for days and weeks with their small children to the displacements camps and family and friends homes.
It was a long afternoon in helping to put together all of the items that were being distributed – untying bundles of mats and blankets, refolding them with the soap and sandals, and keeping up with the demand as they eventually came up in groups of ten. It was well organized and flowed as well as possible even with more people showing up who didn’t have tickets for the distribution.
All in all, everyone got something and then “Mama” Dali called an end to the distribution. After five hours and getting to know some of the staff and the extent of CCEPI services, I was quite exhausted, humbly grateful to have participated in a distribution, and praising God for what was able to be shared and done in the name of Jesus Christ, expressing his love and care.
Yet, as I kept looking out among the vast crowd of women and children throughout the day, I couldn’t help but feel the compassion that Jesus felt toward the troubled and helpless crowd who were like sheep without a shepherd and hear him say, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” Continue to pray for and support the needs of the people and leadership of the EYN Church as well as the efforts for healing, reconciliation, and peace in Nigeria.
Peace and Hope, Jim