Charity, a young mother of four in northern Nigeria, leans over and picks up another ear of corn from a metal container. She shucks it as she stands next to her two daughters, Elizabeth and Patience, and her son, Theophilus. She’s wearing a red headscarf, and she’s teasing Theophilus about something. He laughs and flashes a bright smile, then shakes his head.
The afternoon sun is intense, so they sit in the shade to prepare the corn. The wall of their mud brick home behind them, with window shutters of corrugated steel, is the same rustic brown as the ground at their feet. Beside them there’s a short wall made of thatched branches, and a kit of pigeons coos and pecks the nearby ground.
It’s a scene played out by millions of people every day—a family gathered together to prepare food for the day.
But the simplicity of the scene disguises something miraculous: Charity and her family nearly lost everything because they follow Jesus, and the mere act of preparing a meal together was something they thought might never be possible again.
Here in Guyaku, a remote village in northern Nigeria, being a Christian comes with significant risk. Nigeria is the deadliest place in the world for Christians, and extremist groups like Boko Haram, the Islamic State group and other militants target believers for violence.
In these attacks, Christians are often murdered or have their property and means of livelihood destroyed. Charity and her children know this firsthand. They’re survivors of a deadly Boko Haram attack on their village.