In January of 2015, rioters angry about the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Muhammad set fire to 45 churches in the country of Niger.
Now, six months later, many churches are still rubble and ash. More funds are needed before rebuilding can begin. Many congregations are worshipping in makeshift tents or pavilions.
Niger is ranked at or near the bottom of the UN’s scale of national poverty. A staggering 44% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25/day. In a country where Christianity is practiced by less than 1% of the population, evangelism is imperative, but difficult to carry out.
That is why Words of Hope partners with the Evangelical Church in Niger. With proper financial support, they are able to increase the impact of their church’s ministry efforts. In time, we hope they can rebuild.
Despite the fearful circumstances of this year, however, none of the congregations have disbanded. In fact, many Christians are showing more zeal now than before the protests occurred. More people than ever are coming to church, and new converts are joining.
Words of Hope’s radio programs on the air inside Niger offer this encouraging message during these difficult times: “I call on every believer in Niger to forgive, to love Muslims with all their heart, to keep up the faith, to love Christ like never before. Although it is painful, and what we are experiencing is really difficult, we are God’s children. We must love our persecutors. Let no one seek revenge.”