Yakubu is a Christian from Yobe State, northern Nigeria. Some years ago, the state was overrun by Boko Haram militants, who were terrorising towns and villages with impunity.
“During the height of the insurgency, Boko Haram was all over the place,” recalls Yakubu. “There was no way you could escape them. If you heard a knock on the door you definitely knew it was your day.”
Yakubu’s ‘day’ came toward the end of 2012. Feeling unwell, he had returned from his work and gone to bed. He fell asleep reading his Bible. Around midnight he woke to the sound of people breaking down his door.
“There was a gang of about 20 armed Boko Haram soldiers who had gained easy access through my neighbour’s house. While some waited at the gate to shoot me if I tried to run away, the rest of the crowd entered the room.”
First the attackers demanded money, but Yakubu told them he had none. They looted whatever they could find and then announced, “We are going to slaughter you.”
It was God who took my hand and pulled me up and put me on my feet.”
“One pushed me and I fell down on my face. One held my legs, one sat on my back, and one held my head to the ground. A man holding a knife came and stood beside me. He said an Arabic prayer, then cut the back of my neck. When they saw that I was not dead, someone suggested that they cut from the front. They turned my head the other way and then cut twice more.”
They left Yakubu for dead.
Amazingly, God gave him strength to get up and seek help.
“God is wonderful,” he says. “If you ask me how I stood up, I couldn’t tell you. It was God who took my hand and pulled me up and put me on my feet.”
He was helped to get to hospital, but by then hours had passed since the attack. He was a grisly sight. He had deep cuts to the back of his neck and had lost so much blood that he had lost his eyesight. It was a miracle that he survived.
The human cost of the violent persecution of Christians in northern Nigerian has been very high. As many as 11,500 Christians have lost their lives. 13,000 churches have been closed or destroyed. Thousands of Christian businesses, homes, and other property have been destroyed. Some 1.3 million Christians are internally displaced. Yet, although there has been a steep decline in church attendance due to insecurity and migration, Open Doors researchers report an increased commitment among Christians who have stayed behind.
And one of those is Yakubu.
He carries the scars, of course. And he still suffers pain. But, miraculously, he harbours no hatred at all towards the people who have caused him so much suffering.
“Christianity taught me that I should love those who hate me, even if pain comes to me there is joy within my spirit. I don’t know how to explain it. They hurt me much, but I love them much. I want them to know that Christianity is life.”
Source: Open Doors
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