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Ian Squire
Missionary Ian Squire who diligently
served in Nigeria's Delta state.
Photo Credit: World Watch Monitor

On October 13th, a British optician who had been kidnapped was killed shortly after singing the hymn, Amazing Grace, to lift the spirits of his fellow hostages. Ian Squire, 57, was killed instantly by shots fired by one of the four gang members who abducted him and three other Christian aid workers from their clinic in the country's lawless Delta state. The gunmen refused to give any information as to why the shots were fired.

According to the surviving Christian aid workers, Ian was killed during their first morning of captivity, while being held by abductors in a bamboo hut located in a remote swamp. Three weeks after Ian's death, Dr. David Donovan and his wife Shirley -- along with a fourth hostage, Alanna Carson -- were released following the payment of a ransom, believed to have come from the Nigerian government.

According to Dr. Donovan, Ian had trained local staff to make prescription glasses using a custom-made lens-cutting machine that he had specifically designed for use in remote areas, a service unavailable elsewhere in the impoverished state. Dr. Donovan paid tribute to Ian's professional achievements which were described as being "outstanding" and "revolutionary." "Ian was a man of faith," his colleague explained. "...a man who was really hungry to know more of God, and lived his life with that main purpose at the forefront."

In early November, locals held a demonstration against the militant group responsible for the crimes, amid fears that the kidnappings and Ian's death would lead to the clinic's closure. However, thanks to the effective training provided by the missionaries, the local staff are well-equipped to run the clinic without additional supervision.

In the aftermath of this unfortunate tragedy, may God help the surviving missionaries to continue demonstrating His precious love to the people of Nigeria, despite the acts of hate they've been subjected to at the hands of the abductors. Ask Him to minister His reassuring peace as they now heal from the resulting trauma. May the Lord also comfort, heal and sustain Ian's family and friends, as well as those of the Delta state who appreciate the slain missionary's dedicated life of service. Also intercede for the kidnappers who, in their spiritual blindness and openness to evil influence, committed this atrocious act. May their vision be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so they will see Jesus and be receptive to His transformative love.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen persecuted Christians through a variety of methods. Christians are equipped with audio bibles to distribute to their persecutors. Christian widows receive skills training and trauma counselling as a way to provide an income for their families and heal from the trauma they’ve faced in losing their husbands. Children who have lost parents and relatives due to attacks are provided with a safe place to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered injuries due to attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani. Discipleship and vocational training are given to Muslim Background Believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically. The Glenn Penner Scholarship Award is used to help equip persecuted Christians completing their Masters and have a heart to share the Gospel with the lost in their community.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles, Medical Fund, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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