My Blog

Understanding Christian love in the midst of Nigeria’s ethnic cleansing

“Love conquers, more than violence…the word of God is pushing us to love them, even though they are doing what is not right to us, we are compelled” (Peter Wash, Nigeria Director, Firm Foundations)

Christians in northern Nigeria (where Nigeria Director Peter Wash lives) suffer near-incessant massacres at the hands of both Fulani Muslim militants and the Boko Haram. However, most Christian communities remain committed to peace and to loving their Muslim neighbors whatever the cost. As Open Doors has documented, 70-88 percent of the victims in the “herder-farmer” conflicts are Christians. Most Christians do not retaliate. As Firm Foundations begins to work even more with Muslims in northern Nigeria, we decided to ask Peter how he can devote much of his life extending mercy to Muslims when just last year he lost his niece and her three children to a Fulani Muslim attack.

Peter told us, “I have a heart to reach them because they haven’t been given the privilege of listening to the gospel. They have been denied that privilege….if I were born in that community from childhood, how would I live my life?” This compassionate stance gives him a passion to give even the most hardened enemies of his community and faith the chance to hear the truth about who Jesus is and what His followers believe, and use every opportunity to show them Jesus’ love.

When I asked him about the losses he had suffered personally, he acknowledged that it hasn’t always been easy. Once, Fulani Muslims attacked Peter’s home village the day he left to share about Jesus in a Fulani Muslim village in Gombe. They took two hundred people away, including Peter’s brother and cousins. He said, “That was really devastating. They [the Fulani from Gombe] went and called the chief. Unless the chief answered me, I wouldn’t be allowed to speak anything to them. As I was sitting down quietly waiting for the chief, I was just imagining, these are the people that went and killed my brother. I felt in my heart, ‘Why can’t God just send fire to consume them?’” But then Peter thought, “If I do that, they will all die as sinners…if I bring hell-fire on them, I judge rightly, but this is not what will bring peace. I have to preach the good news of love.” 

Peter then said, “I talked to the chief, even though none of them received Christ, they told him that they have benefitted a lot [from Christianity] and none of them would touch me, it would safe for me to go there now.” When he talked with them more he discovered that the local Christian who was hosting him, paid for a Muslim to go to a hospital and be treated for their illness every year at Christmas and Easter, so they know what Christian love is, in that area.

“Islam has been struggling to overcome other religions through violence…but Christianity has been passing through much persecution and it is still here, even in places like Egypt, Tunisia…yet, it still survives. Love conquers, more than violence. They [the Muslims] were brought up to react anyhow to Christians, to insult, to abuse…immediately they will fight or kill. It is because they don’t really know God, and they don’t have the Holy Spirit who controls their temperament. In Islam, they still practice an eye for an eye, if somebody did something to you, you can have revenge….if they understood Christianity, and believed in God, a lot of the crisis would be stopped. The attitude we have here, is that the word of God is pushing us to love them, even though they are doing what is not right to us, we are compelled.”

left to right, Rick Cordell (International Trainer), Margaret Wash, Peter Wash (Nigeria Director) and David Moore (Director of Operations)
DaraUnderstanding Christian love in the midst of Nigeria’s ethnic cleansing
read more

Praise and Prayer ~ May 13-20

Cameroon

Please continue to pray for peace for the country between the English speaking region and the French speaking region, that God would change the hearts of those in power. 

Please continue to pray for healing for Florence and also for her husband!

Pray for the young evangelists in Mbingo and the new believers that Florence is ministering to. 

Nigeria

The small office car broke down while Peter and David were on the way from Abuja, but they were able to get it back on the road again! Praise God for protecting and providing for them. Pray that God helps Peter as he attempts to sell the car and replace it. 

Pray that the printers in the office will begin working! We need to be able to reliably print materials. One of the computers is also malfunctioning. In addition, they are having trouble with the internet at the office, pray that all technical difficulties are resolved as the enemy tries to prevent our trainings by any means possible! 

We’re working on a memorandum of understanding with one of the larger denominations in Nigeria, COCIN (church of Christ in Nigeria), pray that this all goes smoothly! 

Comfort reports on the 11th, 4 men were killed and 7 women kidnapped in the north, please pray for the families of the bereaved and the safe return of the kidnapped women. One of Comfort’s friends in ministry, Falmata, has also lost her father, please pray for her!

Pray about Rick’s situation, he wasn’t able to leave before his visa expired, so he needs to figure out how to get out! Pray God is with him and causes this to go smoothly.

Pray that Peter’s visa application goes through! We would like to fly him to the US this fall to meet people and coordinate efforts more closely with our US office. 

Some of the people for our Kano training this week couldn’t make it in time to the training, because they were trying to travel from Katsina, and it was difficult. Pray for safety as they are still en route and for the trainers currently in Kano that God gives them wisdom and grace as they adjust. 

The former sheik is having some difficulty coming to the training, pray for travel mercies and additional strength for the other trainers. 

There was some confusion about the timing of the ITEC training locally, and some of the ITEC trainees have come early. Pray for the kinks to be worked out and clarity in communication. 

Pray for our goal of having 500 new Muslim believers by the end of the year! 

Ethiopia

Pray for Rich’s trip to Ethiopia in June to sign an MOU with Kale Heywet and check on the churches we are currently partnering with. There are a lot of details we still need to work out!

Praise God for all the funding that has gone through for the student training! 

Pray for enduring peace for the country, and peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea!

Please continue to pray for our Eritrean trainees as we do not know how they are, but we know they are in constant danger.

USA

Pray for us as we follow up with people from the fundraiser! We are hoping that God will prompt the right people to volunteer with us. 

Pray for Dara’s mother-in-law, she has been having fevers every week since November and is having difficulty getting the insurance to pay for her testing. Pray for healing for her! 

Pray for David’s family while he is away, for mercy and for energy for his wife Denise and comfort for his family as David is missing Mother’s Day and his daughter Hannah’s birthday. 

Eastern Europe

Please pray for Roman as he continues to train and travel! 

DaraPraise and Prayer ~ May 13-20
read more

Loving like Jesus

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous[….]Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-45, 48 (NIV)

While Rich, Peter, and the FFICM team were training in Northern Nigeria on this last trip, they spent three hours listening to the stories of Muslim background believers about their experiences, in order to better understand how to support them and reach out to others like them. One MBB had just received Christ 2 weeks ago and was being followed up by someone that we trained. He looked scared as he spoke; many MBBs in the area are beaten and threatened with death. He said that what drew him to Christ was watching the life of his friend in the village, he was confused and deeply impacted by the fact that this man was kind to even strangers and enemies. So one day, he asked his friend why he did this. The man answered him, “it is because of my Christian faith”. The former Muslim believer said that this caused him to believe in his heart that Christianity was better than Islam, and he believed in Jesus.

We praise God for the hearts of fellow Christians like this man’s friend, filled with the Spirit of our heavenly Father, loving enemies and strangers. May God grant us each the grace to love those around us like this man, that they may know the depth of the Father’s love for them and no longer be strangers or enemies, but brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus!

DaraLoving like Jesus
read more

Praise and Prayer ~ May 6-12

Praise and Prayer

Nigeria

This next week FFICM starts their training for Muslim background believers in Kano! There are 60 people registered. We have four staff members who will be up there running the training, please pray for safety in travel, and prayer for the trainees who will be there that the Holy Spirit prepares their hearts. 

ITEC training starts the week after! Prayer for David, the additional members of the Nigeria team, and ITEC as they all travel!

Last week Thursday and Friday there were attacks around Miango, pray for peace, pray for comfort for those who lost people. The Muslim Fulani are stopping people on motorcycles and killing them sporadically. Pray that God supernaturally puts a stop to these horrific murders immediately.

The government has now banned the use of motorcycles in 8 northwestern states because the Boko Haram and Fulani Muslims are using them so frequently in attacks, pray that this is effective! 

Sam’s son is healing well, praise God! He still need the stitches to be taken out, continue to pray for health for all his family! 

Pray for one MBB convert from Azare, the former sheik went to see him last week Wednesday—they had a good time talking about his life and the Christian faith. The man gave his life to Christ and has been attending church, but needs somebody to continue to follow up with him and build him up in his faith.

Muslims have started fasting in the north, so new MBBs are in a tough spot as their families might find out that they’re Christians, or they might feel uncomfortable not fasting in front of their families. 

An elderly Fulani man gave his life to Christ this past week, praise God! 

Materials for the next trainings are getting printed, and they look good, with typos and printing issues resolved, thank the Lord! 

In Maiduguri, inside the town is relatively safe currently, but only three days ago, there were three suicide bombers. God prevented many casualties, but people were still killed, pray for their families. Muslims also killed 26 people in a village outside Maiduguri. Pray for peace and protection! 

The weather is harsh right now in Maiduguri, pray for relief for Comfort and her church members from the heat, it is between 108-111 degrees. 

One of the young ladies Comfort trained in Lagos is already training others! More people in Lagos are calling us to come down and train them in June/July, or August. Pray for wisdom as we consider their request! 

Cameroon 

Please continue to pray for Florence and her family, Pastor Yisa, and especially Mbingo as they continue to face hardship! 

Please pray for peace in the country! 

Ethiopia

Praise God that we are almost completely set up for the program with the 200 university students this summer! God was gracious and provided all funding. 

Please pray for continued peace! 

USA

Thank God for his miraculous response to our prayers! We have all our funding covered for the year and are still in shock praising God. We felt like our goal was too big, and God showed us our goal was too small!

Praise God for Joelle’s baby! Avalei Hope Abus Rhodes is healthy and the birth was very smooth! Pray for continued healing for Joelle as she recovers. 

DaraPraise and Prayer ~ May 6-12
read more

Praise and Prayer ~ April 22-29

Nigeria

Continue to pray for security in the country, they are experiencing relative peace in Jos!

Tomorrow Comfort should be in Jos for the annual conference, she is currently traveling; pray for journey mercies for her. 

Pray for open doors, more and more people are knowing what we do! An ECWA brigade in Jos is having a camp, and they want Peter to go and share with them what we do and how they can get involved. Let’s pray that will result in a meaningful partnership!

Our team was supposed to hold a training in Wukari territory next week, but the local overseer, (the organizer of the training) called on Saturday to tell them that there have been crises around the town. Pray God will bring peace in that area, especially in Taraba state, they are still having pockets of crisis here and there. 

Nuhu Dauda came back today from an operation on his eyes in Lagos, the operation was successful. Thank God for healing for him! 

Peter’s daughter Greta is still waiting for word on her entrance to university—prayer that she gets in soon! 

Thank God for the success of the surgery for Sam’s baby Josiah! However, the wound from the surgery developed a problem, an infection. The doctor has them going to the hospital daily for dressing until the wound is permanently healed.

Tomorrow the Nigeria group starts a training in Emmaus which promises to be a full training—pray for the Nigeria team! 

Cameroon

Continue to pray for peace for Cameroon!

Ethiopia

Eskendir is still working with Rich on getting the training for the university students organized, pray for wisdom and grace! 

The country is still ok, peace-wise, everything is ok in Addis, but we haven’t heard anything from the surrounding areas, pray for protection!

Some positive things going on between Eritrea and Ethiopia, politically, pray for peace!

Pray for provision for Eskendir’s finances and provision for his family!

Eskendir’s church needs a new location, they had been renting space and now the space is going to be sold!

We’re working  on details to go there in early June and sign an MOU to work with their denomination, pray that this all goes smoothly!

USA

The upcoming fundraiser! We’re slowly getting in RSVP numbers, but have a lot of calls to do as far as confirming people coming, and plans and preparation. 

Pray for upcoming ITEC trip to Nigeria, for ITEC’s own preparation, and David and possibly Julio going as well! Julio may also want to go to the fall conferences.

Continue to pray for David as he continues to trust God for his finances, pray that God will provide more monthly donors. 

Prayer for David and Denise’s son Ben, as he is having a hard time with the fact that he may have to go to a different school better equipped to deal with his learning needs. 

Praise that Dara’s family is well after months of illness! 

Praise that Stacey’s ear has been suddenly healed the day after our prayer call! 

DaraPraise and Prayer ~ April 22-29
read more

“I never knew that the Holy Spirit was with me”

Dear Friends,

Here are some of the written reflections from trainees from recent trainings!

“I must wake up to be more serious about having my quiet time alone with God”

“I want to put to death my sins, rather than “putting them in prison.”

“Prayer will give me boldness to witness.”

“I must approach the new believer without using big terms or theological language.”

“I now know how I can teach my [church] members how to follow Jesus in specific ways, and reach the lost around them.”

“I now know how to not be a stagnant minister but rather a missionary minister.”

” [this training] helped me develop more love for the newly converted.”

“this training deepened my understanding of who God is, and what it means to have an personal relationship with Him.”

” I have never shared Jesus with the children in the campus, but now I can do that and even arrange to follow up with them.”

Thank you to all our supporters and prayer warriors for being such a crucial part of God’s work to strengthen His ministers to reach out to the lost and serve our newest brothers and sisters in Christ!

Happy Easter!

Dara“I never knew that the Holy Spirit was with me”
read more

Prayer and Praise ~ April 11

Nigeria: 

The date for the surgery for Samuel’s little boy, Josiah, keeps getting changed, it is now supposed to be the 17th of April. Samuel is going to talk to the doctor to make sure they are being upfront with him about all of the medical information, pray for grace and truth!

Peter and Rick are running a shortened training for the Forum for Nigerian Evangelists, pray for their trainees! They have about 12. 

We are still getting good feedback from the training at Gindiri—the Nigerian denomination, COCIN, is enthusiastic about their partnership with us as a result. We are working out an MOU with them!

Security in Maiduguri is better this week, there was a bomb around the road in Maiduguri it was discovered, praise God! 

A lot of Christian girls in Maiduguri are becoming Muslim; for some of them, their parents cannot afford their school, or their food. Most of them are farmers who have been displaced by the constant attacks on farming communities and have no way to provide for themselves. The government sends aid but there are Muslims in government and they divert the aid. The Christians in gov’t are too afraid to talk. Pray for justice for the people and protection from the enemy and mercy for the Christian girls of Maiduguri.

Pray for Comfort’s daughters’ exams, they are coming up soon!

Pray for Peter’s daughter, Greta, who has been trying to get into university for the past 2 years! She is struggling and trusting God, but she is facing discouragement. May the Lord comfort and strengthen her and grant her the university entrance she so earnestly desires! 

The former sheik needs transportation to do his ministry effectively, pray for funds and wisdom for a small reliable vehicle. 

Pray for former sheik and Ishaku, they traveled to Bauchi to witness to the people there, left the office this morning!

There is a training next week across the Benue River, the team leaves Saturday morning! 

Pray for the military man that Peter led to the Lord last week! 

USA: 

David is going to be preaching on Sunday at Midvalley Church in Cashmere, WA. Pray that he will be able to share a meaningful palm Sunday message, and many will catch the vision for the work! 

Pray for Rich, he’s going to be on the Christian radio on Friday, that God would give him the right words! 

Prayer for wisdom with finances for the ministry! There are many opportunities and we cannot afford to take hold of them all. Pray God directs us to the ones He has ordained. 

Praise God, Dara’s family is all well this week. Odette is recovering from an ear infection which flared up last week, but is now free of fever. 

Ethiopia: 

Still working on the training of the students, about 250, we need to raise over $10,000. We might not be able to pay for everyone to come! Pray for wisdom and grace, and provision.

Cameroon: 

It is still very dangerous in Mbingo! Pray for safety for Florence and her husband, and all in Mbingo, and mercy for everyone, that the violence would end.

Hilda is okay, she is in Bamenda, which is safe, praise God.

There have been terrible killings around the Belo area, pray for protection.

Rich asked Pastor Yisa if he should come to Mbingo, and he said he wouldn’t advise it. Pray for wisdom for Rich, and for direction for us ass we seek to support our embattled Cameroonian brothers and sisters in their fight against the forces of darkness. 

DaraPrayer and Praise ~ April 11
read more

Modern Day Paul and the Muslim World

In the New Testament we read the story of Saul, a religious extremist who persecuted Christians. While on his way to Damascus to take violent acts against Christians, Saul heard the voice of Jesus in a bright light and was blinded. After speaking with a disciple in Damascus, he was converted from an enemy of the Lord to a disciple of Christ (Acts 9:1-22). That was when Saul the Zealot became Paul the Apostle.

Here at FFICM, we believe that God has a deep-rooted heart for the Islamic North in Nigeria, where the Boko Haram extremists thrive through violent acts. Christians in this region have experienced devastating losses at the hands of the Boko Haram. Despite this persecution, our team has been reminded time and time again that God is at work in Nigeria, comforting His people and reaching out to the lost in the process.

In the same way that God transformed the life of Paul from killing Christians to encouraging them, He is also transforming the life of a former murderer in Nigeria. This man spent much of his youth as a hired killer for the Boko Haram, and murdered many Christians. He was a radical Muslim who one day experienced a radical, divine change. He was given the assignment to kill a certain pastor, but that night he had a dream—three men appeared to him and said not to kill the pastor, but to go see the pastor in the area instead and hear about Jesus. So, he met with the pastor and received Christ that day. Soon after, his wife also accepted Christ, and the two were taken to a discipleship center for 8 months. It is because he was given the time and safe space to ask questions and grow more in his faith that this man now wants to be an evangelist to reach his Muslim brothers and sisters! Praise God for this Paul-like radical transformation!

During biblical times, Jesus tirelessly sought out the broken, the lame, the poor, the outcast, the murders, and the lost. These people might have been too blind by their way of thinking, thought their sin was too great, or believed their life was too far gone. Society saw them as dangerous or less than, but God saw them for who they really are—His beloved creation, those He could empower for His good. God reached out to these individuals in the past, He seeks them in the present, and He will continue to do so in the days to come.

Nicole MillerModern Day Paul and the Muslim World
read more

Praise and Prayer ~ March 27th

 

Nigeria

  • Praise God, 100 people came to Christ as a result of the outreach in Gindiri, they are being followed up! We also got a lot of written feedback from the students. Pray for wisdom as the students stategize how to reach the area.
  • Local elections were re-conducted, because the people in power didn’t get the result they want, so there has been some curfew in Jos to forestall unrest. Pray for lasting peace even in face of this injustice.
  • Peter is feeling ill this morning, pray for healing and strength for him!
  • MBB convert we took to Abuja is going back to his village, pray for his safety and transition as the former sheik helps him transition. Leaders of the community attacked him for preaching previously.
  • MBB converts in Bali are having difficulty, and the churches in accommodating them. Pray that they will work out the kinks in handling MBBs soon for everyone’s sake!
  • Comfort praises God that they have been able to move around. Attacks on Monday after Friday morning prayers, killed about 18 people. Pray for the security of the state, pray that those who come to Christ will have the strength to stand in the suffering.
  • Comfort went to a village from the 15-17th. Eleven people accepted Christ, she left them in the care of one missionary in the village to follow up with them.
  • Pray for the security of the state, pray that those who come to Christ will have the strength to stand in the suffering.
  • Samuel’s son is scheduled to meet again with the doctor on the 2nd of April, pray that he will be healed and the doctors will have wisdom to know how to address his issue!

Ethiopia

  • Pray, we don’t have the budget right now to do the trainings of the students in July!
  • Continue to pray for peace in the country!

Cameroon 

  • Praise God, Mbingo has been calm the past few days. Florence’s husband is responding to treatment! She is going to take her husband to see a specialist in Bamenda tomorrow. Pray
  • The armed forces were attacked by freedom fighters last Tuesday, came onto hospital premises shooting randomly and beating people. Pray that the army will not come back, even though they say that they have their revenge. Pray that God preserves the hospital staff.
  • Because of the shooting they have not been granted permission to evangelize at the hospital! Pray for peace and safety and opportunities to reach out.
  • Shooting around Boyo land, will be difficult to hold conference and training in April. Now they are looking to see if someone can help them create a forum for FFICM-trained evangelists online.

USA

  • We had 80 people come to our prayer event at CMBC! Great group of people, very interested in knowing what’s going on. Gave them opportunity to write notes of encouragement to people in the field! Some people contributed funds, one person is contributing to equip people in the ITEC training with audio bibles. We have a potential video volunteer to help Stacey!
  • David’s wife and 2 of his kids are sick. Denise is sick with a really bad cough, and one of the kids also is particularly sick.
  • Rich is also getting over being sick, pray for health for him!
  • Stacey’s right eardrum is ruptured! Prayer for healing, it may take months to heal.
  • Praise for Dara’s kids’ healing, pray that they heal completely! Pray that Dara is able to fight off the illness it seems like she’s coming down with something too.
DaraPraise and Prayer ~ March 27th
read more