It has been five years since April 14th, 2014, when the nightmare unfolded for the parents of Nigerian schoolgirls—such as Yana Gana (mother of Rifkatu) and Hannatu Duada (mother of Saratu).
In the middle of the night, an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria militants stormed Chibok Secondary Girls School, forcibly abducting an estimated 230 girls. Since that time, believers from all around the world have joined hearts and voices, praying together for the girls’ release. It’s estimated that 112 girls are still missing.
Yana Gana (pictured) is mother to one of the 112. She is still waiting for Rifkatu’s return. During a recent visit with an Open Doors team, she candidly shared her grief: “It has been a rough journey for me,” she said. “There is a Hausa proverb that says fresh wounds are always very painful.” For her, losing her daughter still feels like a fresh wound. She explains, “Any time I speak about Rifkatu, I feel so much pain in my heart.”
She is grateful for the help and prayers she and so many parents have received.
“I want to give everyone who has been praying for us a word of thanksgiving … You have invited us to trauma counselling, prayed with us, studied the Bible with us and, through all of that, we have been able to stand strong. We have placed our total trust and dependence on God, knowing He is the only one that can save them. We thank everyone who stood by us in different ways in our time of pain.”
Parents like Yana Gana refuse to give up hope. One day, they said, God will reunite them with their daughters. You can stand in solidarity with these grieving parents through your prayers and by writing them a letter of encouragement.
Let’s remind Yana, Hannatu and other parents who are still waiting that they are our family, that we have not forgotten them and their daughters. And that they are not alone.
*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.
You can send a physical letter through the mail or a digital message using the form on this page. This letter-writing opportunity is available through October 17, 2019.
Open Doors USA
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799