From Director’s Desk
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
What a great blessings from our Heavenly Father to see you and all of us from January to the end of another year again. We rejoice with you and your family. Thank you all for standing with our home. Despite all the hardship you face, you still remember the children at Stephens Children Home. We ask the Lord of this season to continue to bless and bless your home too in this wonderful season, when we once again remember the Saviour Baby Jesus born in the manger. He became the Saviour of the world. What a privilege to be counted as HIS children. We wish you Happy Christmas and a blessed New Year. Thank you all for donations towards our mission work.
The Wilson Brothers: Struck Down But Not Destroyed
‘Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand’- Isaiah 41:10
God must have had the Northern Nigeria at heart when this declaration was made through his prophet Isaiah. Christians are made to endure difficult times as Samaila Bala reiterated in October’s story. Nothing really was their crime than believing and holding on to their faith. Of course, the case of the disciples was no different from the current situation in Northern Nigeria. Innocent Christians were forcefully made to denounce their faith and their failure to do such has led to the persecution of innocent people suffering today. It is no more news that kids are not left out of these attacks raging the whole Northern Nigeria.
Two children who have witnessed Boko Haram’s cruelty first hand and were scathed as a result are the Wilson brothers – Wandiya (12) and Praise (9). These kids were broken down by psychological traumas; wounded heavily in various parts of their bodies, they lost their relations especially one of their sister Peace Wilson (21) lost with no news into Northern Cameroun, The Wilson devastated. But they were never destroyed, just like the mythical phoenix they arise from the ash anew.
The children have found hope again even when it seems all hope was lost. They believed the enemies can only harm them but God owns their tomorrow.
Wandiya and Praise are brothers from Adamawa state, in the North East geopolitical zone of Nigeria that has been in the throes of Boko Haram’s insurgency since 2009. In this month’s Family of Martyrs story, they sat down with Adua Bitrus for a revealing session.
‘We were in school on the 9th of October 2014 when we started hearing sound of guns. Everybody in school that day and outside it was afraid and ran for their lives.’
On their own part, they made way for home. On getting home, they realized that the Boko Haram militias are all over the place. It was another race for safety for them all over. This time they had to overcome the hurdles of fences in their neighbourhood. It was while going over a fence that a sect member gave them a chase and caught them.
‘We were taken to a camp where they have other prisoners that they are teaching Islam. They fed us from some of the stolen food from people’s shops. We stayed there for two days, until our aunt who was also there called her friend who was an Air Force officer.’ Wandiya narrated.
At around 5:00pm, the Air Force intervened with air strikes around the camp to disband the terrorists but unfortunately, it affected a large number of the hostages, leaving about six people dead and the rest seriously injured. Praise (9 years old) who is the younger brother had his eyes affected by the bomb blast, thereby, losing one of them. The Boko Haram sect members later returned to take those who couldn’t escape after the air strike. At this point, Wandiya was the only member of his family who couldn’t escape alongside fifteen others. they were relocated to another hostage camp, fortunately, they got hold of another phone from another female hostage and put a call through to the Army but unfortunately this time, the extremists overheard the phone call and decided to relocate them to yet another hideout where they kept them for a month before the army came to rescue them from the den of the terrorists.
Wandiya and Praise were brought to the Stephens Children Home in 2015 where they started from primary 3 and primary 1 respectively. Today, they have advanced into higher classes and are doing very well in the home
Praise got his right eye that was affected fixed with an artificial one but unfortunately, the eye fell off while he was playing and up till date, he still has one eye closed. They are both happy at the Stephens Children Home, Abeokuta where they find other children who were affected like them but have gotten new lives.
Wandiya wishes to proceed to secondary school and afterwards move into the higher institution to study Accounting while Praise wishes to study medicine.
Please pray for the Wilsons Family and especially PEACE who is still yet to be found.