THE NEWS BLOG OF ADRIAN AND WENDY HELLEMAN, ACADEMIC MISSIONARIES
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We serve with Christian Studies International (CSI), the Canadian affiliate of International Institute of Christian Studies (IICS). CSI and IICS send Christian professors to teach at public universities overseas. For more about these two related organizations see www.christianstudiesinternational.ca and www.iics.com. You may send financial support through either of these web sites. Please mark: "In support of Adrian and Wendy Helleman."
From personal contact and internet reports we are learning that there is once more a serious crisis in Jos. At the university students were halfway through final exams on Monday when the university was closed. Jos is under a 24-hour curfew, which means that there should not be anyone in the streets at all. But the gunfire is ongoing, and reports tell us that more than 200 people have died. This is so sad.
The university area is only one of those where the tensions run high. We have been in touch with the McCains on the Unijos campus where we used to live, and they are alright, though the gunshots are rather loud and close. There has also been a lot of trouble in Bukuru, south of Jos, where the Theological College of Northern Nigeria is located. We know of one student who was killed. The Wiebe's, who just returned to Nigeria from Canada, were on the road back to Jos, but were not allowed to proceed when within less than an hour away. They had to go back to Abuja until the curfew is lifted.
We have no clear idea of what sparked this latest round of violence. The reports seem to focus on a Catholic church on the east side of Jos, which was burned down. There are typically many more rumours during such a crisis, and as soon as some are killed, the revenge killing can start a vicious cycle. Additional troops have been sent into Jos, and one hopes that this will lead to the city becoming calmer today, Wednesday.
Please pray with us, that peace may be restored to the city, and that the Lord will keep in safety our many colleagues and friends in Jos. May our they find comfort in the Lord's protection, love and sovereignty. Pray that government intervention and reinforcement of troops in the area may be effective. Please pray for efforts toward a more lasting peace. One of the significant reasons for recurring violence is that those who perpetrate are not called to account, and indeed the reasons for violence are complex. Pray for a sense of justice, so that there will be some hope that the never-ending spiral of vengeance and reprisal can be broken. May the Lord guide and prosper all who seek peace.