Why the Gospel Is Reviving Displaced Peoples Camps in Nigeria

This update is related to the One Million Bibles: A Crossway Global Initiative campaign.

A gift of $40 provides ten copies of God’s Word to sisters and brothers in Christ throughout the Global South. Would you consider partnering with us to help distribute God’s Word to believers in need? The overall goal for this initiative is to distribute one million Bibles. Our aim is to raise $200,000 by Mother’s Day, May 12, to support the printing and distribution of an additional 50,000 Bibles. These Bibles will be provided especially to women along with other believers who have little to no access to the Bible.

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Standing on the roadside, I heard screaming coming from across the road. Its sources were out of sight, but the panic was palpable. My heart sank because even though I wanted to do something, I couldn’t. Even though I didn’t know the specifics of what was happening, I knew the yells accompanying the screams signified another attack. This happens often here in Nigeria, and the reasons vary. Soon enough, the screams died away. It wasn’t until the next morning I heard that the whole family, children included, was brought out of their home and killed. The only person who survived from that home was the man of the house. He had been out drinking all night, and by the time he came home at midnight, he had no family. His wife had been left at home by herself to care for the children. Most of the men are not physically present, so it’s the women interacting with the children.

But in many cases, women in these kinds of scenarios don't even have a Bible. How can a woman teach her family the truth of God’s Word if she doesn’t have access to the Bible? —Victor Alabi, Grace Gardens Literature Coordinator, Nigeria

It’s hard to be a Christian in Nigeria, and it’s especially hard to be a Christian woman. The need is great for God’s Word in a place where pain and poverty are the norm, but where hope flourishes nonetheless. Our faithful ministry partners at Grace Gardens see this suffering that oftentimes falls most heavily on Christian women. This is why, as part of the One Million Bibles Initiative, Crossway is committed to providing Bibles to those in desperate need, including women.

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Being a Christian Is Not for the Faint of Heart

On paper, Nigeria’s largest religion is Christianity.1 However, the daily reality is that Christians are under significant pressure and persecution, especially in the northern part of the country. Missy, founder of Grace Gardens, explained that several years ago in their city of Jos, “a suicide bomber hit a different church every Sunday in our city for six months. Every church now has a blockade set up during every service because they’re scared this will happen again. The churches look like prisons.” These Christians regularly fear for their safety.

Not only do they fear for their safety, but they also fear hunger for themselves and their families. Hunger has often pushed Christians to choose between buying a Bible or buying food for their families for one to two weeks.

Missy shared that she and her team see this especially in internally displaced person (IDP) camps.

Christians are the last in line everywhere, even at the food distributions. Once in a while the government will do food distributions at the IDP camps, but they make sure the Muslims who are affected get food first. Christians are last in line, if there’s anything left. So in some IDP camps especially in the northern part of the country, we literally have people starving to death.

These IDP camps are filled with women and children whose husbands have been killed, or left and never returned, forcing their families into less-than-ideal circumstances. The levels of suffering and poverty are beyond anything we in the US experience or see. That’s why the Grace Gardens team finds this place ripe for harvest and hungry for the distribution of God’s Word.

‘The More I Get to Know Her, the More I Get to Know Christ’

Those in the IDP camps often come with very few possessions. Though they all are forced by different circumstances to move into the camp, Victor Alabi explains a common thread he has seen in his distribution efforts:

The reality for these people is that the Bibles we’re giving aren’t actually their “first” Bibles. Most of them lost their previous Bible during an attack. When they run away they are forced to leave their Bibles behind. Sometimes these attacks happen not just once, but twice or even more times than that. They keep on losing their Bibles, so the gift of a Bible means a lot to them.

Crossway has supplied Grace Gardens with Bibles through the One Million Bibles Initiative to be given to people like these who are forced to live in difficult conditions. These are places with little hope, but Victor has seen how the gift of a Bible can bring unspeakable joy.

When we get to the field and hand a Bible to someone in need, you can see their whole countenance change. First of all, you see the expectation since they see you coming with a truckload of Bibles. They can become anxious and may even tell themselves, “I’m not going to get a Bible.” And others have told me they thought, “maybe I’ll get one.” But all of a sudden a Bible is placed in their hands, and that’s when their whole countenance changes. It is a feeling that I can’t really explain.

Victor, though he grew up in a Christian home, didn’t trust Christ as Lord and Savior until his final year of college. During his college years, God provided a Christian woman who befriended him and faithfully shared the gospel. He came to faith through this sister, of whom he said, “the more I got to know her, the more I got to know Christ.”

The gift of a Bible not only allows those who receive them to read God’s Word for themselves, but also to share it with and teach it to those in their spheres of influence. The Word of God is filled with wisdom, guidance, and teaching that women can draw on to share with their growing children who may not otherwise have access to a formal education. Kyauta Maigadi, through her work with Grace Gardens, knows firsthand the blessing of receiving a study Bible and the gift it is to her fellow sisters in Christ.

I personally have used the ESV Global Study Bible and it was really impactful to me—it helped me in my understanding of the Bible itself. We have seen that when we do Bible distributions, the women are so appreciative of the Bibles. You can see the joy on their faces in those moments. They’re the ones who are most appreciative of the Bibles because they know their value. I know that any woman I give a Bible to, I’m providing a great gift, because I know how much of a gift it has been to me.

The Spirit is alive and active in the lives of believers, and through the gift of God’s Word we can know more of who God is and who we are. And we can then live like Christ, influencing our friends, children, spouses, co-workers, neighbors, and others. As the people in our lives get to know us, they can get to know Christ. This is the power of God’s Word. Join us as we seek to provide this powerful gift to believers in need, and so proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Pray for the Lord’s presence in the Bible distributions happening through Grace Gardens. Pray that these Bibles would be given into the hands of women and other believers in desperate need of the good news.

Pray for God to help the Grace Gardens team to maintain compassionate and loving care for the work they’re doing and to extend Christ’s love to their fellow believers.


  1. “Nigeria,” Countries, Joshua Project, accessed February 23, 2024, https://joshuaproject.net/countries/NI.
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