More than 70 churches were destroyed in Nigeria in just two days.
According to the Christian Examiner, 60 churches were burned in just four hours in Niamey, the capital of Niger. The burnings are being linked to the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in January.
Muslims planned the demonstration at the Nigerian churches to scare Christians. Reports estimate that about 94 percent of the country is Muslim.
"They thought that we will not go back to the services," said Mahamadou Koche, a pastor of one of the churches.
"But even if they burn the churches, they can't burn what we have already got inside of us," he said.
The churches will be meeting in temporary buildings.
"Rebuilding the church physically will show to the world that we hold on to our faith and we're still Christians," Mahamadou said.
At Issa Elhadjkouldjami’s church in Zinder, the congregation is meeting at a temporary location while their church, which was burned earlier this year, is rebuilt. Issa said that he hopes their forgiveness brings others to know Christ.
"We will not stop. We will continue with everything we've got in our heart," Issa said in an online story by Samaritan's Purse.
Other churches are also reaching out to Muslims.
In Niamey, pastor Yakaya Sherri passed out Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children of the men who burned his church last year.
"I do believe somehow that this persecution is a fertilizer for the faith," he said.
Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Publication date: August 21, 2015