February 6, 2012
Increasing violence in Nigeria has strengthened the faith of local Christians, even sparking a revival at the Deeper Life Bible Church in Gombe, where nine Christians were killed in an attack on the church on Jan. 5, according to Voice of the Martyrs. During a funeral service for those killed, many accepted Jesus and many other believers rededicated their lives to Christ. The crowd of about 500 then joined in intercessory prayer for the church of Nigeria, the country as a whole, Muslims in Nigeria, and the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. Ever since Boko Haram issued an ultimatum on Jan. 3 ordering Christians to leave northern Nigeria or face violence, the group has claimed responsibility for the murders of at least 44 Christians, including another church attack on Jan. 22 that killed seven. "We have the legitimate right to defend ourselves," said Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria. "We will do whatever it takes."