One young woman’s story of being held captive by Boko Haram

Warning: This blog contains content that may distress some readers.

Mercy endured the unthinkable brutality of abduction, forced Islamisation and marriage by Boko Haram rebels. 

At 22 years old, most young women are establishing their dreams for the future. Mercy at 22, is a Displaced Person, homeless with no family and no idea what her future holds. Her miraculous testimony of survival is helping her to trust God in the uncertainty.

22-year-old Mercy from Nigeria, who endured 5 months captivity by Boko Haram.

22-year-old Mercy from Nigeria, who endured 5 months captivity by Boko Haram.

From the mainly Christian town of Gwoza in troubled northern Nigeria, Mercy watched helplessly as Boko Haram set up camp in the surrounding hills. Then in June 2014 they claimed the town, descending on Mercy’s neighbourhood in the middle of the night.

“My dad and I were separated. I do not know what happened to him. I think he died the same way many others died because they refused to deny Christ.”

Their home was torched before six men forced Mercy and four other women into a vehicle and took them to the nearby town of Mubi. “My first day was like hell. I cried all day and all night. I prayed like never before and asked God to give me courage.”

“They asked if we agreed to become Muslims and to marry Boko Haram members. I pleaded that they allow me to remain a Christian, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. They beat me and told me to never mention Christianity in the camp again.”

Mercy was forced to attend Islamic training. “I also received a husband a few weeks later,” she said quietly, not wanting to give details of the forced marriage. “Every single day came with tears and fears for the unknown.”

The cruelty she saw was horrifying. “I witnessed constantly how Boko Haram members killed innocent people. I prayed and fasted like never before. I kept pleading with God to intervene.”

After five weeks in captivity and five days of marriage, the government stepped in to free Mubi. An aerial bomb landed on the house where Mercy was and miraculously, she was the only survivor.

Government soldiers found Mercy, her leg broken, crying for help. They took her to a medical clinic and then to a Displaced People’s Camp. With support from the local church, she now waits on God.

“I thank God for rescuing me. Many lost their lives after being forced into Islam, but I am alive today. I have seen God’s mercy at work in my life. I may have no one left to care for me, but I have a bigger God who is able to change my situation. I am sure He will take care of me. God spared my life for a purpose.”

Pray

Please pray for Mercy as she lives in the Displaced Person camp, with uncertainty about her future. Pray that she would continue trusting Jesus and find hope in Him.

Give

To support Open Doors ministry worldwide, you can give here. If you would like to become a Frontline Partner and give monthly, you can do so here.

Engage

Please write to Mercy and let her know that she is not alone, that her Christian family is with her. Your encouragement will build hope and faith to sustain her through the uncertainty.

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