30 Nigerian Christian widows whose husbands were killed in anti-Christian violence in Adamawa State are receiving sewing machines, grinding machines, and the training to use them through a project funded by Voice of the Martyrs Korea, in cooperation with SDOK, its sister Voice of the Martyrs mission in the Netherlands.
According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, the project is designed to enable the widows not only to support themselves but also to help other Christians in the region who are struggling as a result of the anti-Christian violence.
“Violence against Christians from groups like Boko Haram and radical Fulani herdsmen is a worsening reality in many areas of Nigeria today, especially in Muslim majority areas like Adamawa state,” says Representative Foley. She says it is important for Christians in other countries to do more than pray when they see media reports of this kind of anti-Christian violence in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
Nigerian Christian widow receives sewing machine through VOMK sponsored project
“Especially we are called to remember the widows and orphans whose husbands and fathers were martyred,” says Representative Foley. “If we don’t equip them to support themselves, then they, their children, and other Christians in the community quickly become second-class citizens in these Muslim majority areas, and the church becomes weaker and weaker there.”
Representative Foley says that SDOK, Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s sister mission in the Netherlands, worked with local Christian leaders to provide sewing and griding machines to 30 Christian widows through a 10,000 USD grant from Voice of the Martyrs Korea donors. The widows also received daily spiritual support along with training on how to use their new machines to run self-supporting businesses.
According to Representative Foley, the results exceeded expectations. “The economic benefits from these widows’ new businesses are already aiding other Christians in need in the community,” says Representative Foley. She provided testimonies from two of the widows who have been helped through the project.
Nigerian Christian widow receives grinding equipment through VOMK sponsored project
Martha (last name withheld for security reasons), age 34, wrote, “I’m very grateful for this empowerment. It has removed the burden of providing for my children and encouraged me to stand firmly in my faith. Now I am also training two orphaned children for free to help them sustain themselves.”
Dorcas (last name withheld for security reasons), age 28, wrote, “Life has been difficult after my husband was killed in a Fulani attack. The training and the start-up package have kindled hope in me. I can now support my family from the income I make through this business. I am very grateful to God.”
A report earlier this year from the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), located in Nigeria, says that more than 5,000 Nigerian Christians were killed in 2022 and an additional 1,000 were killed in the first three months of 2023. The report lists Adamawa state, the location of the Voice of the Martyrs Korea-funded project, as one of the areas hardest hit.
Facilitator instructs Nigerian Christian widows in grinding at VOMK sponsored training
Representative Foley says her organization’s focus is to help Christians who choose to stay in the setting of persecution, rather than those who flee. “Often when Korean Christians and NGOs hear about persecuted Christians, their first thought is to help them escape to somewhere safe. But when a whole community of Christians is persecuted, like in Adamawa state, relocating a whole Christian community is not possible. And if some Christians flee or are relocated, those who remain often face greater persecution, since it makes attackers even bolder. The regrettable outcome is that the witness to the gospel is silenced.”
“That is the tragedy we are seeing in places like Syria, Iraq, and parts of India,” says Representative Foley. “The Christian communities there are rapidly disappearing. Other NGOs often provide funds to help Christians relocate and build a new life as refugees in another country. But there is very little aid for Christians who feel called to stay and testify to Christ in a place of adversity.”
Startup business packages for sewing and grinding to be given to Nigerian Christian widows through VOMK sponsored project
Representative Foley says that is why Voice of the Martyrs Korea prioritizes funding to Christians in areas of active persecution.
“It is easy to see how providing the sewing and grinding machines and training to the widows helps to stabilize and restore the Christian community after an attack,” she says. “Projects like this show the world that when Christians are attacked, they can do something other than flee or fight. They can respond in patient faith, knowing that God can give them a new life right where they are, with the support of other believers around the world. That is the powerful witness to the gospel which these Nigerian Christian widows are making.”
Nigerian Christian widows training on sewing machines provided through VOMK sponsored project
Individuals interested in helping Voice of the Martyrs Korea meet the needs of other families of Christian martyrs and prisoners throughout the world can make a donation to VOMK’s Families of Martyrs/Families of Prisoners (FOM/FOP) fund at www.vomkorea.com/donate or via electronic transfer to
Please include the name “FOM/FOP” on the donation.