Date: May 14, 2022

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. (Hebrews 4:14 NLT)

Spend a moment reflecting on this verse and remembering the brave individuals who have held firmly to their beliefs, at great personal cost.

We think particularly of Leah Sharibu, the Nigerian schoolgirl who turns 19 years old today. Just like her 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th birthdays, this is another day Leah will spend as a prisoner of terrorist captors, who have declared her a ‘slave for life.’

Leah was abducted by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in February 2018. She was the sole Christian among 110 girls who were taken from their school in Dapchi, north-east Nigeria.

The surviving girls were returned home a month later, following negotiations, but Leah was not among them. She had refused to convert in exchange for her release, and has been held captive ever since.

Many of you will be familiar with Leah’s story and have stood with us to call for her freedom over the last four years. On Thursday we handed in a letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London, calling once again for her release, and we will continue to raise our voices until Leah is freed without precondition. Thank you for playing your part.

Pray for effective action to secure Leah’s freedom

At the start of this year, the Nigerian authorities gave assurances that there were plans in place to ensure Leah’s release, as well as every other person held captive. This was a welcome development, but the president of Nigeria made the same promise to Leah’s mother back in 2018, with no discernible progress. Pray that, this time, words will definitely turn into concrete action that brings Leah home.

Please also pray:

  • That Leah will not be worn down by the years of prolonged trauma, but that God would strengthen her in mind, body and soul.
  • For comfort and hope for her parents and brother, who live every day with the pain of loss.
  • That the world will not forget Leah Sharibu, but will continue to pray – and demand justice and freedom – for Leah and for every other victim of abduction in Nigeria.