Inspired by Christian missionaries, Boko Haram members convert to Christianity

Over three million people, including these children, have been displaced in Nigeria as a result of ongoing attacks by the militant group Boko Haram.Reuters

Native Christian workers continue to preach the Word of God despite the terror campaign of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, with some members of the Islamic State-affiliate even converting to Christianity after being inspired by the missionaries' courage, Christian Aid Mission revealed.

As the young people trained by the Nigerian ministry continue to fearlessly plant churches while giving humanitarian aid to those displaced by the conflict, the Gospel of Christ has found fertile ground among Boko Haram fighters, the mission said.

The 32-year-old ministry, being assisted by Christian Aid Mission for the past 28 years, has been "straightforward in reaching the unreached," said Christian Aid Mission's African director Amie Cotton.

"The ministry has been helping people who don't know Christ to get to know Him, but it has also been training and developing leaders, disciplining people and doing work in difficult areas," she said.

However, the converts' turning to Christ came with a price.

According to Cotton, Boko Haram sent a former member who became a Christian a video of rebel members killing his wife and three children with knives.

"Sometimes he feels comforted that he has Jesus, but when he remembers his family, he feels like he shouldn't even be living in this world anymore," she said.

"But then the good thing is that God has brought him to Himself, and by bringing him to Himself, God has saved some lives, too; this man would have killed others."

Former Boko Haram members who converted to Christianity have been sent to a safe place, far from the clutches of the group's chief in the northeast.

They are strongly interested in learning the Bible and removing anything against God. They are also "becoming spiritually grounded so they can reach Muslims," Cotton said.

Meanwhile, graduates of the ministry's seminary have braved dangers posed by Boko Haram, refusing to leave the victims and the displaced to channel Jesus' compassion.

"Some of our young people who have graduated that joined the ministry are so courageous," Cotton said. "In one village, Boko Haram was killing people, and our missionary escaped into the bush. And he called me from the bush and said, 'Boko Haram has invaded and they're killing people, and people are escaping into the forest, and they don't know the whereabouts of their children or their wives.'"

The local missionary later called her to say the Nigerian military has arrives. Cotton offered to arrange for him and three other local missionaries to leave the village for a season, but the young men refused.

"Look, we have more than 100 people we're ministering to in this village. If we're going out, we're going out with them. If we don't go out with them, then it means we're not coming back, because if we came back, what kind of message of the love of God would we tell them, anymore? That we ran away when there was crisis, and now we've come back?" the missionaries told the director.

Cotton said the young men were ready to spread the Gospel despite Boko Haram's atrocities.

"In the midst of what is happening, we still thank God, because we are still alive; we are still working," she said.

"If the church is in hiding, who will know the church? There must be missionaries who are so desperate for soul-winning that they're ready to die."

Christian Aid Mission is a 60-year-old non-profit organisation that seeks to aid over 500 ministries overseas employing indigenous missionaries in the field.