In Nigeria, a younger widowed mom leans on God after extremists kill her husband

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Rose with her two daughters(Photo: Open Doors UK)

Every day this week, Christian Today tells stories of persecuted Christian women who have leaned on Christ and been empowered to overcome the incredible difficulties they have faced:

Rose, from Nigeria, bravely raises her daughters as a single mother after extremists kill her husband

Matthew and Rose were expecting their third child when one day in April a brutal attack on their village in Nigeria, Rose, left a single mother for their two daughters.

In one shot, extremist Fulani herdsmen took Matthews' lives, leaving Rose, 34, to raise their children alone – all of which came as the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill.

Rose is one of the women the Open Doors UK & Ireland Against the Persecution charity honors by celebrating the way they have faced the persecution with courage.

On the morning of April 7, Rose prepared for an appointment at the clinic for a prenatal exam.

"I woke up very positive and excited about the clinic visit," she said. "I've done all of my housework and prepared dinner for my husband and daughters."

But when Rose said goodbye to her husband that day at her home in Nbra Zongo, Plateau state, there was no way she could have known that she would never see him alive again.

That evening, it was Matthew's turn to patrol the village looking for any signs of an impending attack by Fulani shepherds, many of whom have become Islamic militants.

"After the patrol, my husband was on his way back to the kids when he was shot," said Rose.

"The villagers later took me to the place where he was killed. I saw my husband lying dead and already digging the grave.

"My husband died a very tragic death. Not only was he shot, he was butchered.

Rose's husband was brutally murdered and her father was robbed of her children. (Photo: Open Doors UK)

"While we waited for the coffin to be brought, I took courage and hugged him. I whispered a prayer to him and then we had to leave this place.

"I held my daughters and cried."

But the trouble had only just begun for Rose. Her in-laws accused her of participating in Matthew's death by first marrying him and then not being there the day he was killed.

They went to their house, confiscated most of the couple's cattle, their food reserves, and anything else of value.

They left Rose alone and empty-handed to care for themselves and their children.

At that point, the Nigerian government announced lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19. Survival became even more difficult for Rose and her young girls.

"It was very hungry and we had no money to eat," said Rose.

"We couldn't exchange anything for money because the markets were closed.

“I don't even have the strength to do rigorous work to feed my children. We just managed ourselves.

"It was mango season so we ate the mangoes, but when the season was over we would sometimes go to sleep with no food."

While her church did what she could to help Rose, the lockdown had significantly reduced her income and ability to provide aid. Christians also often come last when it comes to getting government food aid.

Rose with her newborn baby. Despite all the tragedies, she trusts every day that God will see through her(Photo: Open Doors UK)

But through her relationship with God, Rose finds the strength to raise her children as a single mother. She said, "I only trust in God to hold my own. Today we are of the living. It's a miracle.

"Whenever I read Psalm 119: 11 -" I have hidden your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you "- I feel so encouraged despite the situation I am in.

"He who watches over the widows neither sleeps nor slumbers."

Open Doors works to bring urgent food aid and other needs to people like Rose – she is one of the thousands of Christians in need of help.

In Nigeria alone, Open Doors has identified more than 9,000 families who don't know where their next meal will come from.

As part of Open Doors & # 39; Rise with Courage Week, which celebrates Christian women who have been persecuted, the charity is hosting a live Instagram event on Wednesday August 19 at 1 p.m. Rachel Gardener Girls Brigade spokeswoman and president. Follow @opendoorsuk

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