After three long years, on Sunday May 7 (2017), the anticipated and prayed for news was released to the public: 82 of the 276 kidnapped Chibok girls had finally been released!
I am not sure why this story had affected me so deeply, perhaps because I am a girl, perhaps because my best friend and powerful prayer partner Oshola is a Nigerian woman, but when I heard the news April 2014, how in the middle of the night, hundreds of girls awaiting to complete their government exams in Chibok Nigeria had been taken by Boko Haram militants at gun point, my heart was both gripped and grieved.
I was not the only one. The international community was outraged. Several celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, and Justin Timberlake took part in the “Bring Back Our Girls Campaign,” drawing the social media attention necessary to pressure international governments to take an active role in the girls safe return. More importantly, the church prayed.
113 girls are still unaccounted for.
Usher- Bring Back Our Girls Campaign
Thankfully, in October 2016 twenty-one girls were released in exchange for Boko Haram leaders. Again, this weekend 81 girls were freed, but physical freedom is only the beginning of a journey on the long road to spiritual and emotional healing, not only from emotional and physical abuse, but also from the deep trauma from sexual violation that occurred during the abduction. For example, according to Bashir Adigun of the Associated Press, the 21 girls released in October of 2016 are still in government care for “medical attention, trauma, counselling, and rehabilitation.”
The prospect of such reintegration is overwhelming: recovering from abduction, rape, abuse- where does one begin the healing and restoration process?
Though not currently ministering in Nigeria (where the Chibok girls reside), Gender Based Violence Counselling is not new to WOW ministries.
For years WOW has been providing Gender Based Violence Counselling programs in Malawi, offering one on one support through the both the legal and spiritual recovery process. Further, WOW’s Malawi rape crises centre not only offers support to survivors, it also offers training for volunteers and crises workers.
Gender Based Violence Team Malawi
With such reports we often feel powerless- but our God is strong and mighty to save! We are his children, made in his image. He is active and present and so should we be! Here are five ways to be active and present:
1) Pray for the rest of the Chibok girls (and those like them that we don’t know about) to be freed!
2) Pray for a deep and miraculous healing!
3) Pray for our crises service workers; for wisdom, discernment, and refreshing.
4) Pray for the salvation, healing, and restoration of the perpetrators.
5) Give to WOW-support GBV prevention, counseling programs working to end this kind of violence against women and see them fully restored. http://wowdonate.org/
WOW is currently building a second rape crises centre in Malawi. We would love you to prayerfully consider partnering with us to build this vital centre.