Burned homes and churches, contaminated food supplies and secret killings left Nigerians in Kaduna state desperate and displaced over the weekend. With attacks by Boko Haram, now known as Isis West Africa, on the increase, an organization called Equipping the Persecuted is directing resources quickly to the people through a network of trusted Nigerian Christians.
"When we initially set up our [ministry] plan, there weren't as many attacks happening, but there were still people that were displaced with no help or support whatsoever," says Judd Saul, a filmmaker who founded the organization to help "internally displaced persons" (IDP) who have been forced out of their homes and into refugee camps.
Saul's organization is on the ground to provide hope through physical and spiritual aid.
"We present the gospel with everything that's done," he says. "When we deliver the gospel, we find out there's quite a lot of nominal Christians or people who probably aren't safe that are part of these villages. Every time we go into a village and do this, people come to know Christ."
Equipping the Persecuted helps the IDPs through educating the children using biblical materials, providing microloans to restore the livelihood of the displaced and training in basic security so the people can better protect their villages so they are not so vulnerable.
"The third part of our phases is training villages on security awareness and how to respond to a crisis, which is another huge void that we see out there, that these people aren't prepared to handle a crisis," Saul says. "And we'd like to teach them just basic security awareness skills, how to maybe put up a secure perimeter to maybe [give] a lot more time for people to evacuate, things like that. I'm not talking about arming anybody. I don't want to start any wars, but it's just simple."
Saul says he is careful to give an account for the funds he receives for the people of Nigeria.
"The needs are endless," he says. "But we try to be very responsive and show our supporters, 'Hey, this is what your money is going toward. This is what's happening.' It doesn't sit in a bank account somewhere. And our ministry has no overhead. We don't have any expensive buildings. It's simply the money comes in, and it goes right out to the people that need it."
Learn more about opportunities for child sponsorship and volunteering through the Equipping the Persecuted website. Listen to the second of three episodes of the Equipping the Persecuted series on the Charisma Connection podcast to find out more about this unique ministry.
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