Bethany has had to endure more than anyone should. But thanks to Open Doors partners and your gifts and prayers, she’s been given new hope to be a resilient light for Christ.
Bethany* has been through more than one person should be able to handle.
We met Bethany through her daughter, Mary*. Mary was abducted during a Fulani militant attack on her village in northwest Nigeria. She and three other women were held for 54 days, during which she repeatedly suffered sexual violence. After Bethany paid a ransom that impoverished her family, Mary was released.
But that was just the beginning of Bethany’s catastrophic year. A short time after her daughter was returned to her, Mary died unexpectedly after a short illness.
And then, only a few months later, Bethany herself was kidnapped while she was working on her farm. “Life in the hands of my abductors is an experience I will never forget,” Bethany says. “All I did was cry day and night and pray to God to rescue me. I felt the pain my daughter Mary felt when she was kidnapped last year. I kept asking God, ‘Why me?’ I was still hurting over the rape of my daughter by these wicked men, then the pain of losing her just when I thought God was wiping my tears. All these events left me heartbroken and hopeless.”
Bethany was released about a month later. But she was left with the scars of all the horrific things that have happened to her. She could have become just another sad story about what is happening to Christians across sub-Saharan Africa, the most violent place in the world for believers.
But Bethany’s story doesn’t end there—thanks to your gifts and prayers.
'I don’t think I would be alive today'
After Mary’s abduction, Open Doors partners came alongside her to help her with trauma care. “I remember when my daughter attended the healing program, she came back full of hope and love,” Bethany says. “Everyone in our community kept talking about how she changed.”
And so, when Open Doors found out Bethany had also been kidnapped, our partners invited her to a similar program at the trauma center.
Through this, God has worked a miracle. “This one week I have spent in the center has brought joy, hope and reassurance of God’s love for me,” Bethany says. “The teachings were so practical, and I felt the program was designed just for me. Listening to other women share their stories helped me know that I am not alone."
One of the parts of the program is a section where the women gathered to literally take the things they are burdened by and lay them to rest by pinning them to a cross. This was the most meaningful thing for Bethany. “The best part of the program ‘was taking my pains to the cross.’ I dropped everything that made me sad at the feet of Jesus, and I felt peace and joy.”
Bethany is incredibly grateful for the support of Christians like you that has allowed her to find this place of peace and healing. “Thank you for allowing God to use you to mend broken hearts,” Bethany says. “I remember when my daughter came here ... Little did I know that one day I would go through the same experience and be invited also for trauma healing. If I did not attend this program, I don’t think I would be alive today, maybe I could have committed suicide just to find rest from all the pain. But God is not done with me yet; thank you.”
But because of your gifts and prayers, Open Doors partners were able to help Bethany even more. Before Mary passed away, our partners gave Mary money that she used to buy a piece of land in a safer area for her family. And so, our partners decided to make Mary’s hopes a reality and supported Bethany with the construction of a house on the property that Mary had purchased. They decided to surprise Bethany with it when it was done.
When Bethany was kidnapped, it created some uncertainty—but the builders continued in faith that Bethany would be released, and she’d be given a finished home.
The house remained a secret until the day finally came when the team could take Bethany to her new home.
After she completed her trauma healing program, partners traveled with Bethany to the plot of land that Mary—who Bethany calls “Charity”—bought for them. Our partners caught the incredible moment on camera when Bethany saw her new house.
“My brethren in Christ, I am grateful to you all because what Mary [or Charity] wanted to do for me, you gave yourselves to do it for me,” Bethany said. “God, who is in heaven, will bless you double-fold. I am sure my daughter would be happy and saying ‘thank you’ from heaven, because her dream has been brought to reality. I lack the best words to say thank you."
Inside her new house, kneeling on the ground, hands in the air and tears rolling down her face, Bethany broke into song: “Father, all things are possible with You,” she sang. “We are grateful to You, God. Because all things are possible with You.”
Join us in thanking God for Bethany's life and that He has brought good out of the suffering she has experienced. Her scars will stay, but because of you and the global Church, she is not left hopeless.
Pray with us for your sister Bethany:
· Pray for Bethany and her children as they restart their lives. May God's word be an ever-present help and strength, a refuge in whatever hardships come their way.
· Pray that Bethany will find complete peace of heart and mind after everything she has gone through.
· Pray for Christians in Nigeria and across West and Central Africa who are held captive by extremist groups. May God provide the necessary strength and faith for them to endure what they are going through.