When our local worker, Daouda, first met with Sharifa* Kesvere and her eight children, she said they were ‘drowning in tears’. In July 2014, their home in the extreme north of Cameroon was attacked by Boko Haram. When the militants learned that the father of the family, Jean Marcel Kesvere, was a pastor, they bundled him into a car. While the older children ran away when the militants arrived, Sharifa and the younger children were forced to watch helplessly as Jean Marcel was taken from them. Later they found out that he had been killed.
The family were reunited in a nearby village where they found refuge, and the local church took them in and clothed them. Soon after Jean Marcel’s death, we were able to help Sharifa with clothing, millet, sugar, dried fish, cooking oil and soap. Open Doors was also able to fund the education of Sharifa’s seven school-age children.
But as well as financial support, Sharifa was recently given a large bundle of letters, written by Open Doors supporters in the UK. Open Doors worker Amora had the privilege of delivering them. “They were so happy to receive them. The children showed card after card to their mother, spurting out expressions of joy.”
Sharifa said: “I appreciate their love and concern very much.”
Amora was encouraged to see signs that the family is beginning to heal. “Sharifa and the children looked healthier and livelier than they did before. Sharifa joined in conversation which often led to laughs, something that was absent the last time I was with her.”
Sharifa says: “I know that my life is in God’s hands. It is not easy. It never has been easy. But He is the one giving me the strength to hold on, to carry on.”
Sharifa is beginning to do what she can to support her family. She has used money from Open Doors to buy a freezer to start an ice supply business in her new community. Her mother has also bought her a piece of land where she intends to begin a rice farm. Lack of fertiliser has slowed down the project, but she will keep trying.
Sharifa is also hosting a prayer cell in her home every Wednesday and Friday and she thanks God for this fellowship and support.
All is well with us. But my father’s absence is still disturbing to me. But I thank God because He knows all things.”
One of the children told Amora: “I am so thankful for the help and support we have been receiving. All is well with us [physically]. But my father’s absence is still disturbing to me. But I thank God because He knows all things.”
Sharifa says: “Thank you for the encouragement. God is our strength; He is keeping us, and for that we thank Him every day. We thank Him for those who continuously think of us, who have taken their time to write us these beautiful words, to show us their love and support; for you who have travelled distances to come here and see how we are doing. It warms my heart, and I pray the Good Lord keep you strong too.”
You can still write to Sharifa and her children to encourage them and let them know that you are praying for them – your letters are a great source of encouragement.
*name changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.