All across Niger, Christians are holding fast to their faith in wake of a tide of Islamic violence that left as many as 70 churches and dozens more Christian homes and businesses destroyed.
01/28/2015 Niger (World Watch Monitor) – Mixed emotions were evident as members of the Christian community in Niger gathered for their services on Sunday, Jan 25, 2015. Some were full of joy to get back to church; others could barely hide their sorrow.
A week ago, the church bells remained silent. Ten people died during that weekend; more than 70 churches were destroyed, along with numerous Christian schools and organizations, including an orphanage. Over 30 Christian homes were believed to be looted and burnt down. Those affected say the violence left them with “only the clothes on our backs”.
It was significant for churches to resume their services of praise and worship, the President of the Evangelical Alliance in Niger (AMEEN) Rev Kimso Boureima told World Watch Monitor.
“It was important because a Christian who lives alone is not strengthened in his faith. As the Bible teaches, we are encouraged when we’re together… It’s also an occasion to show the ability of the Church to face trials, because after what happened Christians are in great need of spiritual support”.
Local sources reported that many churches across the capital set up tents and chairs to hold their services. The worshippers sang, prayed and encouraged each other, some having to stand the whole time.
In the far south-eastern city of Zinder, where the vioence started on Friday 16th, there was also a strong desire to overcome fear and to move forward – despite uncertainty about the future, particularly from some who lost their properties.