What Do You Want For Christmas?

For so many Christmas is only about giving and receiving gifts. For others in our world, life is very different. Some may want peace, clean water or sanitation. Others long for the ability to forgive; -

It was late evening when Joel saw lights in a nearby village. It was on fire. His community in Plateau State, Nigeria, had been threatened by armed herdsmen in a land dispute. The attackers were heading their way.

Joel, aged 21, was the eldest – he had two younger brothers still at home. Along with their mother, they decided to flee for their lives, but they had to leave their father behind as he only had one leg.

The herdsmen attacked, and in the ensuing chaos the family ran in different directions. Joel was shot at but survived – as did his two younger brothers. Joel’s parents were both killed and their home burnt down. Nine people in the village were killed that night – in total an estimated 86 people were killed across the neighbouring communities.

The brothers fled to a makeshift camp in the nearby city of Jos, joining 6,000 displaced people. With no sanitation, disease spread in the camp and Joel’s youngest brother caught typhoid.

But thanks to water and sanitation workshops from Tearfund’s partner, RURCON, the spread of typhoid and cholera was halted, and people – including Joel and his brothers – learnt to keep safe and healthy. After treatment Joel’s brother recovered. RURCON supported Joel’s family with soap, water purification tablets, a mattress and financial help – a lifeline to a family who fled with nothing.

‘Our parents, they were our pillar,’ says Joel as he cares for his brothers. ‘But now they’ve gone. We have nobody to look up to. They were our teachers, our moral guides. They cared for us. Now they are no more.’

‘But I am a Christian. I pray that God will restore my mind so I can forget what happened. I want to move on. I want to forgive. But it is very painful.’

Give thanks for those who give so RURCON can help Joel and his brothers.

Pray Joel will receive the gift of forgiveness this Christmas.

See www.Tearfund.org for more information

Mandy McIntosh