United Methodist Committee on Relief

When Love Overcomes Terror

By Bella DiFilippo*

Boko Haram, the militant Islamic group that has been infiltrating the northeastern states of Nigeria since the 1990s, first drew global outrage and Western media attention after the group kidnapped approximately 276 teenage girls in 2014. Today, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in Nigeria by causing a severe food shortage due to ongoing violence in the area. The conflict has forced two million people to flee their homes to seek safety where they can find it.

Amidst the violence and chaos perpetuated by Boko Haram, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is partnering with Mission 21, formerly known as the Basel Mission.

mothers waiting_Nigeria copy.jpgNigerian mothers waiting to receive services. PHOTO: LAZARUS ILLIYA 

Yollande Yambo, Africa Area liaison for Global Mission Connections of Global Ministries describes Mission 21’s work:

Mission 21 has been an ongoing support group for the communities that have survived Boko Haram’s attacks. Mission 21 is empowering survivors through sustainable development so they can work within their own communities to support one another. We do not want people to end up as beggars, but rather we desire for impacted communities to take ownership of what they have and to rebuild what has been destroyed. After learning about the work of Mission 21, it was clear Global Ministries needed to be in partnership with the organization.

Through a $100,000 grant, UMCOR and Mission 21 are working together to provide more than 600 men, women, and children with lifesaving nutrition and essential non-food assistance.

When asked how the church can support those in Nigeria, Yambo was quick to answer, “First of all, pray for Nigeria, because prayer works,” she said. “Boko Haram is a movement, to date, that has proved difficult for the Nigerian government to control. A Nigerian delegation expressed to me, however, that they believe that this terror group can be dissolved by the power of love. Pray that communities can overcome fear through the love of Christ. Secondly, the work of Global Ministries cannot go on without the support of those who give so generously.”

Show your support of UMCOR’s efforts in Nigeria, and other vulnerable communities around the world by giving to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450.

*Bella DiFilippo is program area liaison for Global Ministries Communications.