Five years ago in November 2011, Rev Aminu Sule was in his village in Dematuru, Yobe State, in Northern Nigeria when Islamist militants from Boko Haram attacked the community.
Churches were burned down and some 200 people killed. Militants continued through the night – going from house to house, killing every Christian they found.
Most fled, but Sule – whose evangelical church was bombed and completely destroyed during the attack – stayed behind with his family.
“Many of us fled, but for me as a pastor – I could not run away and leave the few that stayed,” he told Christian Today.
“Many people left Dematuru because of the levels of persecution, but I said no – I cannot leave my church. I am supposed to be the last person to close the church, if it is necessary. I cannot leave my church because I am the pastor. In the Bible, it says ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ If I run away and leave my congregation, what will I say to them? How could I preach dependence on God?
“I said for me, ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain.’ If I die, it will be for the sake of the church.”
Just three Christian families stayed behind in Sule’s village, and his own children were traumatised by the attack – two of his sons didn’t eat for a fortnight.
“The bombing and the shooting was just like rain – it didn’t stop. That scared them the most,” he said.
“But I encouraged them, even though they are children, to know that God is in control of all situations.”
Nigeria is ranked 12th on the World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution…