In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Classrooms for Christian IDP children in Benue State, Nigeria
Update: Third year for our farm project at Nigeria orphanage in Plateau State
Update: Detailed results of the annual Religious Freedom Coalition supporter’s poll
New: Capitol Hill – My conversation with Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska
Funds transferred for Nigeria school building
Christian curriculum: The first week of April I wired the funds for the construction of a school building at the Daudu 3 Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Benue State, Nigeria.
The construction will be under the direction of the TIV Tribe.
These camps house people who have been driven out of their ancestral villages due to Fulani Herdsmen attacks in which their homes were burned to the ground and most families
suffered the loss of a close family member — most often the husbands/fathers who were attempting to protect their families from the attackers.
The majority of the population in these camps are TIV people (TIV Tribe) and are Christians, which is the main reason they are targeted. As a result, the TIV Tribal King and Queen are heavily involved in the camp’s programs. The Queen organized the current Christian education programs in these camps that include Bible instruction as a part of their normal class routines.
Because of heavy persecution, the TIV Tribe has lacked the resources to provide all the needed curriculum and resources to properly educate the children.
The modest building the Religious Freedom Coalition is going to fund will have three classrooms, each 60 square meters (645 square feet). That will give each of the students in the building about 16 square feet.
The building will allow 120 displaced Christian children to be inside out of the weather. Currently the classes are being taught under trees at this IDP camp, and completion is planned before the rainy season begins in June.
In addition to the building at Daudu IDP Camp 3, the Religious Freedom Coalition will supply desks, chairs, printed curriculum (including a Bible), and general school supplies for two other IDP camps.
Summary: We will build one modest three classroom building at Daudu Camp 3 and supply desks, chairs, and educational materials to be used in the new building. We will also provide school supplies and educational materials for Daudu Camps 1 and 2.
When the project is completed, there will be space and materials for 360 students. The total cost of the project for all three IDP camps will be $42,348.
I will visit the site in July.
Third year for farming: The idea of the orphanage operating a farm to help supply food first came up in 2019. At first I was skeptical … but the farm has produced not only food for the orphanage but self confidence for the orphans who are learning to care for themselves. Self reliance is a valuable by-product of the orphans operating a farm.
The funds to operate the farm for the third year in 2021 have already been transferred. The crop produced will be valued at three times the cost at least.
In the maize (corn) crop alone, the farm will produce more than 1,500 pounds, and perhaps twice that in Irish potatoes. In addition, the farm will produce sweet potatoes, soybeans, and peanuts.
Besides these staple foods, the farm will also grow some fresh vegetables. The childrens’ nutrition will be further enhanced by the protein currently provided by the Religious Freedom Coalition monthly.
After visiting the IDP camps in Benue State in July, I will travel to Plateau State to visit the orphanage and examine the progress there, including for the farm.
Every child has a story: Please pray for the children of the orphanage who are in a state of trauma caused by the shocking recent attacks by Sunni Muslim Fulani herdsmen nearby. So many have suffered so much already, and need safety and care at the orphanage.
Sarah Emmanuel is just one example. Her father died when she was just two, and she came to live in her grandfather’s home. Then, several years ago during a Boko Haram attack in
Goza, Sarah’s family’s house was burnt down, and her uncle and grandfather were killed.
She and her sister ran to the mountain and hid for 4 days without food and water. There was no school because it was burnt to the ground as well. They walked with others to Cameroon. After some time, her pastor found her and her sister, Blessing, and brought them to the orphanage with the help of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). It is at the orphanage that they have found shelter, food and Christian compassion and companionship.
Sarah is now 15 and has hopes of becoming a doctor.
It is my prayer that we will be able to continue to help children like Sarah and her sister Blessing. There is much more needed than just feeding traumatized children who in many cases have seen their parents or other members of their family murdered, often in brutal ways.
Often those killed by the Boko Haram are not shot, but hacked to death with machetes. No child will ever be able to forget those kinds of images — but with love and the healing hand of our Lord, we will help them as best we can.
Nigeria and Diaper program lead: At the end of January, I mailed a questionnaire asking the supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition which of our programs they believed our team should focus on during 2021. It was my plan to be able to announce the results in the last newsletter, but the delays we are experiencing in receiving the mail made that impossible.
I believe we have enough responses to the questionnaire for me to have a clearer picture of the way the current programs are viewed by supporters.
As a reminder, supporters such as yourself were asked to assign a value of 1 through 5 for each program with 5 being the most important. “Trust God” received far more “5” ratings than any individual program.
The exact wording of the statement receiving the most votes was : “Mr. Murray, please trust God to guide you in how to use my support.”
As for single projects, Nigeria received the highest total: The exact statement read: “Increase aid in Nigeria to help Christian children orphaned by Islamic jihad.”
Out of thousands of votes cast, “Trust God” and “Nigeria” were within 50 votes of each other.
For single projects the second highest was advocacy on Capitol Hill. The exact statement read: Work on Capitol Hill exposing persecution of Christians and promoting Christian values.
For single projects the third highest was the Diapers for Refugees program. The exact statement on the questionnaire was: “Expand the Diapers for Refugees program in the Middle
East adding more adult diapers.”
For single projects the fourth highest was the Christmas for Refugees program. The exact statement on the questionnaire was: Restore group Christmas for Refugees programs after
Covid-19 and expand the program.
Out of thousands of votes cast, “Capitol Hill,” “Diapers for Refugees” and Christmas for Refugees were within 100 votes of each other.
Then came the surprise for me. In last place – way in last place -was the post card petitions to President Joe Biden. The exact statement on the questionnaire was: “Petitions to Joe Biden demanding he do something to stop slaughter of Nigerian Christians.”
There were many responses with handwritten notes that said things like “He will not pay any attention to it.” And “He just does what he is told to do.” And “He will not help real Christians anywhere.”
I had already mailed 60,000 of the post cards petitions to social conservatives asking them to send the cards to Biden. I received back many of the same type of responses and there was truly little financial support for the program.
With the lack of enthusiasm and little financial support for the Biden post cards concerning Nigeria, I have decided to discontinue the post card program for now.
God has really directed me to offer more help to the persecuted Christians of Nigeria, particularly the children. So it was really reassuring and heart warming that there was so much encouragement from supporters to expand the Nigeria missions.
Covid-19 surge – Unlike the United States there are no mass vaccination programs for Covid-19 because of a lack of availability. The United States, Europe and wealthy Asian nations have bought up most available vaccines. Jordan and other nations in the Middle East have turned to the Chinese and Russian vaccines, but there is a shortage of those as well.
As a result, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon continue to have severe lockdowns, but we are getting diapers to elderly in the greatest need. We are also having success in getting infant diapers distributed in northern Iraq in and around the city of Dohuc which is the center of what is left of the Assyrian Christian community.
I will be furnishing a detailed report to you soon on our progress in delivering much needed adult diapers.
Senator Ben Sasse: Senator Sasse is under attack because he did not support President Donald Trump’s attempts at recounts. He basically said to Trump: “You lost, so leave.” Many may disagree with Senator Sasse on his treatment of President Trump, but he is an outspoken Christian and social conservative.
On March 18th I spent over an hour on a Zoom call with Senator Sasse and just six others. We discussed, among other issues, the state of religious liberty.
Senator Sasse has been consistent in his defense of religious liberty and directly promised me that major initiatives would be coming from his office on religious liberty. He also promised that he would have someone in his office work with me on issues of religious freedom.
True to Senator Sasses’ promise to me, his National Security Advisor, Brett Fetterly, contacted me. We literally spent over an hour on the phone as I explained in detail the continuing
persecution of Christians in Nigeria and the failure of our government to call out the Sunni Muslim president. We discussed the Middle East and needed legislation to protect religious
While many have a bad taste in their mouth because of his treatment of President Trump, Sasse did win more votes in Nebraska in November than President Trump. He will be in the
Senate for at least the next six years because of his win and will be helping to elect other social conservatives to Congress with his SASSE leadership PAC.
I am not defending Senator Sasses’ remarks about President Trump, but rather pointing out that social conservatives can still work together for a common cause regardless of other disagreements.
William J. Murray, President