In order to do some thinking an writing, I had to escape the craziness of a home full of children. Options were few, but a little coffee shop was open. It was the time of day when there were few other customers, and I chose a seat in an empty corner.
To my dismay, almost as soon as I sat down, a young woman walked straight at me with an Ipad. She told me she was doing a customer survey and asked if she could sit with me and ask me questions about my coffee experience. In such situations I always remind myself that this person needs to earn an income and is not trying to disturb me on purpose. So, I said yes, and we got talking.
After a number of obligatory silly questions about my satisfaction regarding serving sizes and varieties of coffee beans, I thought it was my turn to ask her a few things. Her accent betrayed a first-generation immigrant. I asked her where she was from. She was from Nigeria. I asked her if her family was still there. They were. I asked if she was a Christian. She was, and so was her family. We got talking about persecution and she shared her frustration about her government not protecting Christians, and not acting when they were brutally attacked.
Eventually we bowed our heads and prayed together, for her family, for her nation and for our brothers and sisters there on the front lines of persecution.
It was a stark reminder for me that the persecuted church we read about and pray for is not an abstract, far away thing. As believers, we are not only spiritually connected, but also our lives intersect in many ways. What happens in Nigeria will deeply affect Christianity in many places of the world. The outcome of the battle that Christians face on the front lines of Islamic expansion, will shape the continent of Africa for many years to come. And that battle is heating up, saturating the soil with the blood of our brothers and sisters.
As back to Jerusalem, we want to follow the situation in Nigeria closely and regularly update you and remind you to pray for the believers there. Please join us in learning about them, listening to them and interceding for them.