Churches in Niger have been targeted with attacks after Charlie Hebdo magazine made international headlines for their caricatures featuring the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Todd Starnes for Fox News reports that churches were burned along with parsonages, leaving clergy members homeless.
According to missionaries Neal and Danette Childs, a mob destroyed two of the churches that Neal oversees through ministry Reaching Unreached Nations. The protesters also burned and looted the pastors’ homes.
“One of our pastors lost everything,” Neal Childs said.
Starnes adds that the pastor is a father of three and his wife is pregnant with their fourth child; the family is now staying at the Childs’ home.
The second pastor’s home was also burned but neighbors rescued some of the family’s possessions.
“While the mob was burning the front of the house, his neighbors came in through the back and they hauled out clothes and everything they could get through the back window,” Childs said.
The neighbors who helped the family were Muslim.
After the attack, Neal and Danette Childs went to the site of the parsonage and pulled a Bible out of the wreckage. The Bible was charred but survived the attack.
“It was an emotional moment as you see your church in ashes,” Neal Childs said.
Christian leaders in Niger have decided to forgive the Muslim rioters, though they know they may return.
Childs said, “We are preaching the Gospel and living as an example before the people. It was demonstrated in our response. It is not our nature to be aggressive or violent. We forgive those that attack.”
Publication date: January 30, 2015