Hajaratu is a young Nigerian Christian, a mother and widow of two years. Her husband, David Matthew, died of an illness, leaving her to care for her five children on her own. She recently shared her story with us.
On the night of July 10, 2020, Hajaratu sat with her neighbors under a tree before heading home to prepare dinner and get her children to sleep. After they were all safely in bed, Hajaratu warmed herself by the fire’s hot coals and fell asleep.
“About two minutes later, I heard the gunshots,” she says. The young mother ran to wake up her children.
“I flung my little daughter on my back, quickly strapped her [to my back] with a cloth and went outside to the gate,” she remembers. The other kids, old enough to run on their own, ran outside to join the rest of the people fleeing the village. The shooting grew louder, and gunshots cracked and popped right beside her kitchen wall.
“We all ran out, scattering in different directions,” Hajaratu says. She ran toward the river.
The Fulani are a large ethnic group in West Africa. A third of all Fulani people are pastoralists, making them the largest nomadic community in the world. More militants had overtaken her village. That night, Hajaratu lost much more than her possessions, grain stores, animals and parts of her home. She survived the attack, but the gut-wrenching reality of life after that night has remained; Hajaratu—unable to swim—nearly drowned as she crossed a fast-moving river for safety. Tragically, when she came out of the water, Hajaratu realized her baby daughter was no longer on her back. Days later, she was reunited with her remaining four children.
Through Open Doors, Hajaratu received food items to feed her children, financial support to rebuild and trauma counseling. She has now returned to her village with her family but continues to wrestle with the loss of her daughter. Thankfully, she’s beginning to find hope again. She sings as she works:
Only words of gratitude
Only words of gratitude
There is nothing I have to offer you, my God
Except words of gratitude
Please take a moment to write our sister, Hajaratu, a card or letter using the Hausa phrase below and strengthen her with your encouraging and uplifting words.
In Christ, we are One Church. One Family.
This letter-writing opportunity is available through December 17, 2021, and is accepting physical letters only.
Zuwa ga Hajaratu, Mungode sosai yadda kika baiyana sheda mana labarinki. Wannan abin ya albarkaceni kwarai da gaske. Inayi miki adu’a. Nagode
The English translation: Dear Hajaratu. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. It blessed me deeply. I am praying for you and your family regularly.
Open Doors USA
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799