Reverend Joseph Kura, Pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Obi and Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Obi, Nassarawa state, was brutally murdered on his farm on June 30, 2016 by suspected Fulani herders. He leaves behind a widow, Martina, and seven children. When Open Doors recently visited Reverend Kura’s bereaved family, Martina told us, “I will forever remember June 30th as the day I lost my best friend.”

“Two days before the attack, Joseph heard that there were woodcutters in the area and asked if he could borrow their machinery to cut down some trees on his farm (which he needed in the carpentry business he ran). While he was on the farm, a young man approached Joseph and started arguing with him. He said Joseph was cutting down a tree that belonged to him.

“Joseph reported the incident to the local traditional ruler, who summoned them both to a discussion of the matter. The ruler ordered Joseph to pay for the tree, which he did, but following the meeting, the youth threatened him. ‘A fight is not finished in a day,’ the youth told him. Everyone present heard him say that and the ruler issued a warning to the young man.

“Joseph decided to stay away from the farm the next day, but when the youths he had hired to help him on the farm called late afternoon to tell him the machine had broken down, he went to assist them. I begged him not to go, but he wanted to help the youths. After replacing the part, he continued to work with them so that they could finish that day.

“As they were packing up, they heard some shouting in the bush and then a group of Muslims came running towards them. ‘I know they have come for me,’ he apparently told the youths with him. They ran away, but Joseph faced the attackers. They killed him and left his mutilated body there on the farm.

“Back home, I was growing anxious. A neighbor said she heard rumors that he was attacked. I started shivering, hoping that he was just injured. But a few minutes later, a church member arrived in tears and told me, ‘Baba was killed.’

“I started shouting and collapsed on the floor. Some men from the congregation went and collected his body and took it to the morgue. After all of this, I cried until I had no more tears left. But eventually, I realized that crying will never bring Joseph back. The Lord also reminded me of the words of Psalm 139:16, ‘In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them,’ and I was comforted. I looked up to the heavens and said: ‘God, here am I with my seven children. Take care of us and fulfil your promises. You know I have no source of income.’”

Ebenezer, Martina’s oldest son, was very tempted to take revenge. “At first, I made up my mind that I must avenge the death of my father, even if it would cost me my own life. But after many words of encouragement from different people, I realized that two wrongs can never make a right. My prayer is that those who killed him should never find peace until they repent and turn to Christ.”

Open Doors workers prayed with the family and gave them financial support to cover their initial costs.

“Thank you for remembering us in our time of pain and agony. May the vision and mission of this ministry come to pass as you continue to serve persecuted Christians. The Lord will continue to shine His light through you so that others may see and glorify His name. May God richly bless you.”

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