Grace is missing from Chibok. Grace Pogu, along with over 200 other girls, was abducted from the Government Secondary School by Boko Haram at 3am on 14 April 2014.
Before she was taken, Grace phoned her father, Peter Pogu*. “There are some soldiers around us with weapons,” she said. “They say they are the people that are looking after us.”
“No!” shouted her father. “They are not soldiers. Soldiers would not gather you in the night. You must run away.”
Too late. The scared, disoriented girls were bundled onto pick-up trucks and driven into the darkness. As they left, the ‘soldiers’ set fire to the school buildings.
As soon as dawn arrived, Peter and a friend took his motorcycle and drove to Chibok to see for themselves.
“We saw that all things had been burned, and I saw some uniforms of the girls just scattered. Then I started to cry.”
In the town, Peter found a girl who had managed to escape. “They had carried all of us to the bush,” she told him. “But I heard that your daughter phoned you and you said, ‘Run away’… then I escaped.”
Peter and a few other fathers set out in pursuit. In the forest they found another escaped girl who told them that Boko Haram were not far away. Pressing on, they came to a village where the body of a dead man lay on the ground, murdered by the extremists.
The villagers begged them to turn back: “If you go near these people, they will kill you.”
With heavy hearts, the fathers acknowledged the truth. They were outgunned and out-numbered: they would be slaughtered like that poor villager.
What could they do? What could anyone do?
“We just cried and cried and cried,” says Peter. “And we went home.”
Recently, Open Doors organised a trauma care seminar which brought together 50 mothers and fathers of the Chibok girls. As they spent the day together, the grace and power of God was evident. Stories were shared and tears were shed. They found the courage and the honesty to voice their struggles to one another. And a key part of this process is the messages of hope and love received from Open Doors supporters around the world.
Lydia Musa, mother of one of the girls, said, “We feel loved and cared for by people we have never seen. We are extremely grateful to God Almighty for uniting us with these caring people. Spending their time on their knees on our behalf is really a big miracle to us.”
“I strongly believe that we are not alone in this battle; the prayers of other believers around the world are making a huge difference in our lives. Glory be to God!” shared Jessica Bitrus.
“We cannot actually call Boko Haram our enemy,” says Pastor Ayuba. “We hate what they do, but we do not hate them. We still love them. So the only thing we can do for them is pray for them. And we need to forgive them. We have to ask God that if it is His will, He will change them. We trust that some of them will come to faith.”
Forgiveness. Hope. Love. Sentiments echoed by Peter Pogu.
“The Bible is telling us: let us forgive those who have done bad against us. We tell our children, ‘Let us forgive’. Anyway, one day our daughters will come out. That is what I am telling them.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.