Equipping New Believers

It's easy to get discouraged and frustrated over the suffering and persecution that many in the family of God are having to go through, especially in countries hostile to the Gospel. Over the years, I've visited fellow Christians in many of these nations who have endured beatings and separation from their earthly families -- in some cases, also the loss of loved ones -- merely for making a decision to follow Jesus. For me, having personally met and interviewed a great number of these persecuted believers, such discouragement is often turned to amazement and encouragement.

On a recent trip to Nigeria, I had the opportunity of meeting devoted Christians who were in the process of training for the ministry. I met them while visiting a Bible college in the Middle Belt of Nigeria (I can't be too specific because of security issues), where I taught a session on what it means to "take up your cross" and follow Jesus. Many of these students know first hand what this means.

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada is working with a ministry in Nigeria that's facilitating a Bible college and it's doing a great work of effectively training Bible students for front-line ministry in the northern part of the country, an area comprised of a Muslim-majority population, where Christians are often plagued by violence. Yet, even with all the challenges facing these faithful followers of Christianity, Muslims in their communities are coming to know Jesus in a personal way and are willing to pay an immediate price for that decision.


A future Bible college student is "Lina" who came from a strict Muslim home. In fact, Lina's father is an imam, a teacher of Islam. Before her conversion as a teenager, Lina, who noticed a difference in the way neighbouring Christians had lived out their faith, became interested in learning more about Jesus. When her father found out that she had been to church, he beat her badly.

After refusing to return to Islam, the then 13-year-old was forced into marriage with a man who was already married. Lina eventually escaped and, through the help of a pastor, made her way to one of the "safehouses" VOM Canada supports.

Now 16, Lina hopes to one day go back to her hometown and share the message of God's love through Jesus Christ! The "safehouse" she is presently residing in also operates a discipleship school for young believers. Once she completes this training, Lina plans to attend the Bible college I mentioned earlier in this message.


During my recent overseas trip, I also met and interviewed "Ibrahim," a young man who is presently in his early 20s. Having come from a Muslim background in Northern Nigeria as well, Ibrahim spoke about Jesus with a friend who was a secret believer. When Ibrahim initially expressed interest in becoming a Christian, the friend thought he was a spy. Finally convinced that Ibrahim was sincere in his desire to follow Jesus, the friend took him to visit a pastor who eventually led him to Christ.

When Ibrahim's father and brothers found out that he had become a Christian, they beat him and chained him up for a duration of three days. On another occasion, he was locked up for three weeks. Like Lina, Ibrahim successfully escaped and was brought by Christians to the "safehouse." He is now learning a vocation (in this case, to become a welder) so he can be self-supporting in ministry. Ibrahim is also planning to go back to his village one day to share the Gospel with his family and friends.

When Ibrahim was asked if he wanted to say anything to his Christian brothers and sisters in Canada who are helping to support the discipleship school/safehouse ministry, he replied, "I am very happy and appreciate my Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are helping and encouraging us in every way." Then he asked that the following words be expressed to each of VOMC's ministry friends: "I pray God will bless you in everything you do, in Jesus' name."

I also want to thank you for helping to build up the persecuted church in Nigeria and all over the world through your generous support! A more detailed video report is available at VOMCanada.com/Video/Safehouse.


Greg Musselman
Minister at Large
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

A woman sitting alone on public transit - Photo: Unsplash