Christian women remember persecuted sisters

Christian women from across the UK staged a vigil in London at the weekend for their sisters around the world who are suffering for their faith.

The focus of the vigil was a Nigerian Christian woman who "died of trauma" after being attacked for a second time by militants.

Nvou Dauda was shot 20 times by Muslim extremists in 2002. The attack killed her unborn child and destroyed her home.

She received support from Release International partners in Nigeria, who rebuilt her home, and Nvou was even able to forgive her neighbour who was among the attackers.

However, in 2012 attackers struck again and her new home was destroyed. She was living in a refugee camp when Release partners say she "simply slumped and died of trauma".

The vigil was part of the Heart2heart women's conference held by Release International in London on Saturday.

"Nvou has let go of her sackcloth and ashes and is now wearing a garment of praise," said Emma Dipper, who heads up Release Women.

"We are living in the temporary, but she is in the eternal."

Speakers at the conference included women from Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan who told of the suffering experienced by Christians in their countries.

The speaker from Kyrgyzstan, who cannot be named for security reasons, shared her experience of being attacked in her own home by Muslim nationalists. Many believers have faced similar attacks by Muslim nationalists, who regard Christianity as an unwanted Russian import.

In Sri Lanka, Buddhist monks have attacked churches, pastors have been beaten and regulators have prevented the building of new churches.

Mrs Dipper said the suffering of Christians elsewhere could help Christian women in the UK go deeper in their faith.

"We need to understand what being a disciple of Jesus is about. Jesus' message of redemption and wholeness was achieved through suffering," she said.

"The gospel is also one of sacrifice. As women in the UK recognise that, our intimacy with Jesus will deepen, our faith will grow and the faith of the UK church will be strengthened in the generations to come."