Six months ago 109 girls were taken from Dapchi, Nigeria, by Boko Haram militants. One hundred and four of those girls were returned almost a month later – of the six who did not come back, five died while in captivity. The remaining girl, Leah Sharibu, is the only Christian, and is still being held captive because she will not renounce her faith in Christ. She’s only 15.
It’s a shocking story, and just last week an image of Leah Sharibu and an audio recording of her were released to the general public via a Nigerian newspaper. In the audio, she pleads for Nigeria’s president to intervene and help facilitate her release.
Leah’s father, Natha, says: “My joy knows no bounds… I heard my Leah’s voice… Honestly, I believe that Leah is alive today because of the prayers of believers. And your prayers are important for me and my wife too, because the wound is still fresh in our hearts. But praise be to God that believers all over the world have taken our burden to become theirs.
“My plea is this: I am calling on Christians in high positions all over the world to raise their voices and plead with our president to bring back my Leah. She has pleaded in her audio clip that top Christians should help us. I plead the same.
“This situation has opened my eyes to see and understand that Christianity comes along with suffering and pain. If our master Jesus, who was blameless, was persecuted, how much more will we who are His followers. I am aware that Open Doors has been praying and spreading our story all over the world for prayers. May God bless you all and meet you too at the points of your needs. Thank you.”
Leah was held because she refused to denounce her faith, according to her father. He said in March, after hearing that Leah had turned down an opportunity to be released if she converted to Islam, that he was ‘very sad but also jubilant because my daughter did not denounce Christ’.
Leah also refused to blend in with other captives wearing a hijab, according to friends who were released. She sent a message with one of her friends to her mother, saying: “My mother you should not be disturbed. I know it is not easy missing me, but I want to assure you that I am fine where I am… I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thank you for all of your prayers for Leah and her family. Please continue to pray for them, and pray for Leah’s swift release.
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