Nigeria: Christian Widow Keeps her Faith Despite Extreme Persecution
“When my husband died, I was in a state of total despair, confusion and pain. Losing all hope I would have committed suicide, but the Spirit of God greatly encouraged me through songs, prayers and His Word,” Damaris Atsen confided to Open Doors workers.
Damaris is one of many Christian widows in Northern Nigeria struggling to survive under the extreme persecution of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria. During riots in March 2010, a fatal attack on her husband, as he was helping a blind man home, left Damaris alone with four children to support. They include Christopher, Dorcas, Ezra and Blessing, an adopted orphan.
Open Doors was there to stand in the gap for Damaris. “I have been provided with food, clothing, school fees and most of all prayers,” she says.
“At the time I lost my husband, I felt useless and hopeless, but God sent you people (Open Doors workers) as angels to raise me up and give me hope.”
Open Doors initially helped Damaris establish a firewood business to raise funds and later a farm for breeding chickens.
Over years of ministry in Nigeria, Open Doors has helped hundreds of widows like Damaris make ends meet through vocational training programs. Open Doors has also assisted widows with school fees for their children, which is one of their greatest sources of joy.