Les Sillars – Praise and persecution


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, February 2nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Over the years, WORLD has covered how Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have persecuted Christians in Africa. Les Sillars recently heard the testimony of a similarly situated Christian in Nigeria.  He found it to be deeply humbling.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: This is Simon Yako.

YAKO: To testify to the goodness of the Lord, from January to this time that we are in…

About nine months.

YAKO: …they have kidnapped 11 of our missionaries and one pastor’s wife.

Simon heads an organization called Evangelical Church Winning All. ECWA has about 2,000 national pastors and missionaries throughout Nigeria.

Our church, Fellowship Bible Church, works with ECWA. Simon spoke to two of our pastors last fall by Zoom.

YAKO: In fact, one of our staff here in the office was kidnapped, and how God rescued him, it was a miracle.

They tried to force him to become a Muslim.

YAKO: He said no. Jesus is the Lord and he cannot just deny Him. So he kept on preaching to them until God released him from their hands.

Another pastor was kidnapped from his own house in front of his children.

YAKO: They took him! And they went away with him!

But he shared the gospel with them. Strangely, they promised not to hurt him. They gave him a blanket. They untied him. And they said, could you scream, like we’re torturing you? We need to convince your family that you’re suffering.

YAKO: He said, how can I as a pastor, shout? And this will be a lie.

So he didn’t. And eventually they released him.

YAKO: We look at it as God’s way of reaching out to them, they use that time to share the gospel with them. In Jos, we have had several of them who have really given their lives to the Lord.

The ministry has provided trauma counseling to the victims.

YAKO: And after the trauma healing they are really willing to forgive, and they forgive them!

Their captors are not just enemies

YAKO: Who have tortured them, they look at them as people who are lost, and who need salvation.

The wife of one missionary killed during an attack was in despair. She wondered if God really exists. But eventually she understood God from a different perspective.

YAKO: She was able to say now I understand God who He is. God is a god of mercy, and is a god of forgiveness. 

Our sufferings are temporary. A single seed, as Jesus said, remains a single seed until it falls to the ground.

YAKO: But if it dies, it produces much fruit. After all one day we are going to be with the Lord. So if God allows that that should be the way that we go to heaven, we cannot dispute that.

Simon said they are giving God glory…

YAKO: …even in the face of all these challenges that we are facing, the Lord has always remained faithful.

You know, after hearing Simon’s testimony, I’m not quite as worried as I was about the challenges of a Biden administration. And I’m praying for my brothers and sisters in Nigeria. I hope you’ll join me.

I’m Les Sillars.


(Photo/iStock)

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