VOM News, Abuja, Nigeria-- For several years now, radical Muslims in northern and central Nigeria have been carrying out a ‘holy’ war, or jihad, against Christians.
I found some of the most recent victims in the hospitals of Nigeria's Plateau state. Women, men, and children with bullet wounds, and deep slash marks on their necks and heads.
The attackers, mostly Fulani Muslims, use guns and machetes as their weapons of destruction. They make no distinction between men, women, and children— who will not only carry the physical scars for the rest of their lives, but the emotional ones as well…
Hundreds have been killed in Christian villages throughout the state. Homes have been destroyed as the attacks against Christians have intensified.
Fifteen year old Nanchak Kadarko is recovering in a Christian hospital after he survived a raid on his village. During that raid he suffered serious injuries to his hand and head.
Nanchak said, "In the morning, around 5, many men with guns attacked my village, we ran from our house to the pastor's house. They chased us to the pastor's house and they were cutting us with machetes as we ran, and I was injured."
Nanchak says the attack has actually strengthened his faith in Jesus.
Selbol Oliver is a 40 year old husband and father of 3. He was shot in the back during an attack on his village. He said, "Militant Muslims from neighboring states and countries have come in to stir up trouble. That's led to much death and destruction."
Selbol said, "There is sadness in me. The reason for that sadness is that many people were killed. But I'm also strengthened, because this has taught me to live more righteously before God, and has strengthened my faith in God."
When we met Celina Kumchak, she was a recent arrival at the Christian hospital. This 45-year-old mother came here after enduring a terrible nightmare, just a week earlier.
She told us how many people were killed in her village during an attack by militant Muslim; how her husband had been injured. Celina, who has difficulty walking, tried to flee from two men with machetes. But she was caught and attacked, suffering blows to her neck and face. She lost part of her tongue. Her hand was also cut.
Her speech now permanently slurred, Celina struggled to explain, "When this happened, I bowed my head. Then I prayed and thanked God that I was still alive. Then I started singing. I was continuing to give thanks to God. I stood up and went where the people were gathering. From there they took me to the hospital."
Celina's 8 year old son was killed during the attack that day. But she looks forward to seeing him again in Heaven
From her hospital bed, Celina said, "I have forgiven those who did this. But I'm praying God will give me the mind to forget all that has happened to me. And I'm praying my son is resting in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Nvou Dauda is a young lady with a beautiful smile, but behind that smile is a lot of pain. Militant Muslims killed her father-in-law and badly injured her husband with a machete. Then, during a second attack on her village, they forced their way into her house. She said it was because she had refused to become a Muslim. At the time of the attack, Nvou was 7 months pregnant.
Nvou said, "So they shot me in the hand, and in the stomach. And when I tried to escape they shot me in the leg and I fell down."
Up until that point Nvou had been carrying her 2-year old son on her back. She added, "I don't know when my child fell off my back. After shooting me, they set the house on fire. So while crawling out of the house I got a burned hand, and the child was burned in the fire." She showed me her fire-scarred hand.
Nvou was taken to the hospital in critical condition. She would later learn her unborn baby had died of a gunshot wound.
Nvou explained, "I've handed everything over to God, and pray that God will take care of me." She added, "Despite all that's happened I will continue to work for God. And even if I'm killed, it will mean I was killed in the name of God."
Nvou, sitting was excited when she learned that some Christian doctors had come from the U.S. and that she would be one of their patients.
While her recovery will be a long and difficult one, Nvou is an incredibly strong woman of God.
U.S.A. surgeon Dr. Bert is one of the surgeons who operated on Nvou. He heads up the Voice of the Martyrs Medical Division. Dr. Bert is a general surgeon who served in Cameroon as a medical missionary for over 10 years prior to joining the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).
During a break in work at the Nigerian Christian hospital, Dr. Bert said, "I think it's just a worthy ministry to minister to persecuted Christians. The Lord tells us to do that. In Galatians 6:9,10 it says not to be weary in doing good, especially to those who are in the household of faith. I think as we go around and enable these people, equip these people, it encourages them."
Dr. Steve Kitchen, an Orthopedic Surgeon from Columbus, Ohio, joined the doctors in Nigeria.
Dr. Kitchen said, "I love to come on these trips, to see different people, and be able to teach some of the medical techniques I've learned. Also, to impart something of the Lord."
He added, "But I also like to come, because anyone who comes and sees these situations, and is with these people, comes away with much more than you could possibility bring [them]."
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a clear end in sight to the murder and maiming of Christians in Central Nigeria. As a result doctors and medical personnel from around the world are desperately needed here to help deal with the ever growing list of victims."
"There is no more satisfying way to practice medicine that I know of,"said Dr. Kitchen. "You get to do what you are trained to do. You get to help people that really need help. You get so much back in enjoyment and you get so much back from the Lord. You can't out-give the Lord. You just come away with a real sense of what is happening in His Kingdom."