Aliyu, from Niger State in North-Central Nigeria, was born into an Islamic family in a Muslim-dominated region. When his family discovered his conversion to Christianity, they imprisoned him in the house to try to force him to return to Islam,but after some time he managed to escape.
He reached safety with help from a pastor and was eventually brought to a VOM partner mission, Christian Faith Ministries, for discipleship training.
The discipleship training programme provides safe shelter for new Christ-followers, most from a Muslim background, whose lives are in danger because they have left Islam for Christianity.
Most of them, like Aliyu, are rejected and face death at their hands of their families for their ‘betrayal’.
Aliyu spent a year in the training programme, receiving free full board accommodation, education and medical care. The training programme provided him with a firm biblical foundation.
By the time Aliyu finished his year of discipleship training, he was convinced God was calling him to share the Gospel with those who have never heard, so he applied and was accepted on a full scholarship to train as a missionary. Aliyu loved the years of study but still longed for his family to hear the Good News so, after an absence of three years, he decided to journey to Niger State to visit his family.
He was not well received. When the family learned that Aliyu had spent three years studying the Bible, they became very angry. Not long after he arrived, a younger sister warned him that his relatives were planning to kill him. So, gravely disappointed, he was forced to flee a second time.
Aliyu returned to the ministry once more, determined more than ever to learn all he could and to be as well prepared as possible to share the Gospel with the Muslim community. He applied for and was admitted to the degree programme – an additional two years following on from the diploma he had already achieved – again on full scholarship.
At the end of the two years, Aliyu applied to join the ministry’s evangelism team, to plant churches in remote Muslim and pagan villages. Along with the other members, he helped plant the first mission station in a new area. After three years of pioneering work, a church was established. The church is now overseen by another ministry graduate while the evangelism team has moved on to another unreached locality to begin again.
From time to time, over the seven years since he came to Christ, Aliyu attempted to contact his family but was always rejected. In December 2020 he married, but they would not receive him or his bride.
In February, he heard from a neighbour in his home village that his mother was very ill and needed a life-saving operation, but the family could not afford it. Aliyu did not have the funds for the surgery, so he approached the ministry’s leadership to ask for help.
After securing the financial assurance, he journeyed to his Niger State home and told his family what he had arranged. They accepted Aliyu’s help
He took his mother to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, very close to one of the ministry’s children’s crisis care homes and church. The whole church there helped and supported Aliyu and his wife as they cared for his mother at the hospital and accommodated her at the children’s home afterwards, until she was strong enough to return home.
Aliyu’s family were amazed. They had rejected him for seven years and had tried to kill him on two separate occasions. But he responded to them with love, by providing for his mother and caring for her in her time of need. The family had not known that love like this existed.
The whole family are now reconciled. They know Aliyu has shown a real love for them, a love they did not deserve, and are now prepared to hear all that Aliyu has to tell them about the Lord Jesus.
Pray for frontline workers in Nigeria sharing the Gospel, and for those who have been forced to leave their families to follow Christ.