Persecution charity Open Doors has opened a first-of-its-kind trauma center in Nigeria to support the victims of terrorist attacks across the country.
The charity stated on its website that the trauma center will "accommodate up to 30 trauma victims at one time, and will have a training annexe to help equip church leaders whose congregations have suffered terrible atrocities. It will be staffed by qualified people, skilled in dealing with post-traumatic stress and all of its associated conditions."
The families will stay at the center for about six weeks to receive healing and comfort before returning to their homes.
The church leaders will also be trained to provide post-traumatic stress healing to those who have suffered persecution.
Open Doors UK and Ireland president Eddie Lyle visited Nigeria and met with the parents of the abducted Chibok girls, and witnessed their agony.
"Meeting four of the fathers of the Chibok girls encapsulated for me the agony of this tragic incident," Lyle recounted. "Jonah, one of the fathers, asked me how he can stop his wife from screaming at night because of the sense of loss. She's missing her daughter and doesn't know how to live life again. 'What would Jesus do, Brother Eddie?' he asked."
"There are no easy answers to that most searching question, beyond the fact that God grieves with his suffering family," said Lyle.
The charity is keeping in touch with the parents of around 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014.
Many of the fathers whom Open Doors team spoke with were concerned about their wives and children. They visited hospitals frequently but the hospital does not have trauma care to support them.
Some of the parents told Open Doors that they knew Christians who had gone back to rely on witchcraft to bring their daughters back, but others remained firm in faith, and many others started attending church when they had not done so in a long time.
"The fathers we spent time with said they do not see the persecution they are facing as something extraordinary, but as a natural part of being a Christian and walking in the footsteps of Jesus. They expressed hope that they will yet see the faces of their daughters in this life -- and if not in this life, then in heaven. They also expressed trust that the Lord will use their suffering for their good," Open Doors stated.
At a seminar organized by Open Doors, parents were encouraged to give all their burdens to the cross.
"The participants penned down their pains on paper and took it to a cross placed at the front. Then they burnt it. This painted a picture to them of a step they were taking in faith -- handing over their burden to God," one Open Door member reported.
"I find it very difficult to forgive the people who abducted my daughter. I felt a heavy pain in my heart. But today I have forgiven them. I rely on God and His power to heal my wounds," said Ruth, one of the seminar participants.
Between 2006 and 2014, up to 11,500 Christians were killed, 13,000 churches destroyed, and over 1 million people persecuted among whom many were forced to flee from their homes, according to Open Doors UK.