Thanks and news

Dear friends,

greetings from all of us at "Home For The Needy" in the name of our Lord Jesus!
2017 was a year full of challenges, breakthroughs, miracles and testimonies. With grateful hearts we remember the revival that took place with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Till today, children youths and adults still testify about how they received the Holy Spirit baptism and how this changed their lives completely. They are still fervent in prayers day and night.

Another great miracle was how God helped us to build our new fellowship hall within just a few weeks and to buy 2000 new chairs! This was made possible through your generous support and love!
Thank you so much for all you have done for us! We appreciate each and everyone of you for all of your love, concern, prayers, donations and practical help you rendered to us throughout 2017. God bless you all in Jesus' name!

Finally, we have some wonderful news for you!

Last month, a journalist of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" visited us in Nigeria to see our work and the daily life of the internally displaced persons at "Home For The Needy". On December 12th, 2017, her very touching article about "Home For The Needy" was published in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". You can read the article below this email or in the following link:

God bless you all



Many people in Nigeria barely escaped Boko Haram. Some are waiting in camps. Their daily life is toilsome. But they are glad to be alive.

By Melanie Mühl

Benin City, in December

Their pleasure in killing was limitless. Like ravenous animals they infested the village in the North West of Nigeria. A mob of hooeded men on pickups, armed with machets and machine guns - fighters of the Islamic terrorist armee Boko Haram. They were shooting randomly. They dragged the men out of their huts, slaughtered them in front of their wives and children and set everything on fire. Not a stone was left standing in the village.

Whoever was able to flee, fled to the nearby mountains, with nothing other but the clothes they wore. Most of those who got away were women and children. Women like Ladi Solomon. She is 45 years old, widow, mother of three daughters and five sons. She is wearing a long, colourful gown and a scarf on her head. For months, she said, they persevered in the wilderness, in permanent fear of Boko Haram. The sun was burning. They ate dirt and grass and drank dirty water. Death was closer than life. This was three years ago. Today, Ladi Solomon can sleep peacefully again. Without nightmares. Without fear. She looks around and points to the children and youths who are playing football, to the women who are washing rice in huge basins, to the girls who are drawing letters into the red sand. She opens her arms as if she wants to embrace the camp and says, "Here we are safe."

The name of the camp is "Home For The Needy". It is located within a green belt in the South of Nigeria, at the outskirts of Benin City, a monstrous city of 2.5 million people, dirty, poor, noisy. Pastor Solomon Folorunho, a friendly, quiet man, established the private help organisation in 1999. Then, he still accommodated the internally displaced persons in apartments in town. But they became more and more, and soon the rooms they stayed in became overcrowded. It would have been too expensive to rent new ones, so Solomon Folorunsho moved to the outskirts of the city with his fosterlings. Here, Boko Haram is far away. At least geographically. But in many minds the terror lives on.

The attacks of the jihadists continue to shake the North East of Nigeria where the militia is strongest and where the country borders on Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Although Boko Haram, who once dominated an area almost as big as Belgium, was believed to be practically defeated already in 2015, forced back by the Nigerian military. A fallacy. At the moment it looks as if the terrorist armee takes over power again. Recently, an assassin blew up himself in a mosque during during the morning prayer and claimed more than fifty people's lives. A youth, not up to eighteen years old. Boko Haram frequently uses children as weapon, especially girls, who hide explosive belts under their wide garments. Alone during the first three months of this year, 27 girls and boys were abused for suicide attacks, according to an UNICEF report. On the internet, a current propaganda video of Boko Haram is circulating, as if the Islamists want to resurface.
The rainy season, which made the many bad roads in the rural North impassable, is over. Areas that were hard to access are now easily accessible again. The terror, too, needs an infrastructure.

Ladi Solomon doesn't want to hear about all these things. She doesn't want to remember the pictures, the blood, the dead bodies. She doesn't want to remember Boko Haram. For long, the international public did not take note of their atrocities. Until that day in April 2014, when the Islamists kidnapped 276 school girls from Chibok. All over the world, people were horrified. Quickly, the solidarity campaign "Bring Back our Girls" for the abductees spread on the internet. Michelle Obama supported it. Ladi Solomon's life has not been touched by the "Bring Back our Girls" campaign. Her village has been wiped out.

The fact that Ladi Solomon no more has to suffer fear of death today does not mean that suddenly everything is easy. Daily life in the camp is hard. More than 2500 people live here, most of them are children. There is lack of everything: food, accommodation, toilets, disinfectants, mattresses, clothes, kitchenware, school books, mosquito nets and medicine. Especially medicine. The Tropics are treacherous. Fever and diarrhoea go around. Malaria is a big problem, the risk of infection is high year-round.

"Many also suffer from serious stomach ache and stomach ulcers", says Linda Schulz from Germany, thirty years old. She has been living in the camp since she was eighteen. She says, "God called me here". Schulz comes from a village in Saxony and has found her destiny in the outskirts of Benin City. She is not homesick, has no doubts, no fears and no desires. Her faith and the practiced charity fulfill her. Every six months Linda Schulz travels to Germany in order to extend her visa for the country she is giving so much but that does not accept her as a permanent citizen. There is no reasonable answer to why it is like that. To look for an answer would be futile. Even Nigerians say that it is impossible to understand this country. Neither in big things nor in small things.

Linda Schulz leads through the camp, behind her a group of children. The temperature is 33 degrees, the humidity is more than eighty percent. One walks over sand and grass, in between puddles and mud. She shows makeshift wooden barracks, class rooms - some completed, some half-finished. Fireplaces. Some children are preparing instant noodles in a brazen pot. Pineapples grow on a field, there are also some lean goats. It is so stuffy in the dark, low houses that one can hardly breath. One of the houses is only for widows. They got sewing machines. The few poperties of the refugees have been piled at the walls: plastic bags, blankets, clothes. The children lie down like sardines next to each other to sleep at night, says Linda Schulz, boys and girls strictly separated. More than 150 in an area of 140 square metres.

The government does not care about the misery of the population. This camp, which is guarded by private security personnel, is funded by donations. It doesn't matter whether the people stay at "Home For The Needy" with constant shortage or whether they die in the desert, a libyan prison or in the Mediterranean Sea on the dangerous escape to Europe.
Stricken by corruption, bribery and nepotism, the State resembles an organisation that is trying to enrich itself, which is being plundered ruthlessly - at the expense of the multitude that has to make ends meet with less than two Dollars a day. The corruption index of Transparency International listed Nigeria as number 136 out of 176 countries. Since 2010, according to the organisation, about 13.5 billion Euro have been alienated of the money that was meant for the equipment of police and army - money for the battle against the Boko Haram terror that cost more than 20,000 people's lives so far. More than 2.5 million are on the run. Additionally, there is a dramatic recession. Though Nigeria's head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, recently announced that things are getting better, that the country is recovering. But the expansion rate of the actual national output is only 0.8%. The Boko Haram problem also seems just about solved for Buhari. He compared the most recent assassinations with the last convulsions of a dying horse.

For Ladi Solomon such promises are indifferent. She is not interested in news. The sun is going down, soon there will be food - rice and with a bit of luck some diced tomatoes. She is holding her son in her arms and says, "We are alive. We have found care and love here with Pastor Solomon. We attend church every day. We pray. Our children no more cry day and night, and here they can play jauntily. They even receive education."

But isn't Europe the target of all African refugees? A better life far away from Africa? At that point she looks confused. "Europe?" She has heard about it, sometime. Also about the dead in the Mediterranean Sea - but she says that she doesn't know much about it, whatever for. Some friends join her. "Yes, Europe, they say it is nice over there", they say, "Isn't there snow?" The women talk about Europe as if it is a fairyland that doesn't exist in reality. No matter who one talks to in this camp, the refugees don't dream about Europe for even a second. They are never going to set off to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The thought of it is absurd to them. Why by choice risk the life they were able to save only by a hair's breadth?

Nevertheless, they have dreams. Again. They dream about their children once having a better life than them. That they will have a future in Nigeria. And find work. And that maybe they themselves can return to their villages someday.