Overcoming in the Koma Hills
A village in the Koma Hills in northeastern Nigeria. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Pastor Chris Joseph arrived in Yola at 10:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4. This is significant because Yola is the capital of Adamawa, one of four states in northeastern Nigeria under a state of emergency because of the terrorist group Boko Haram. A curfew is imposed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. “For this reason, drivers have to speed up so as to arrive before 11 p.m.,” said Chris, a Climbing For Christ member with a ministry in the Christian south.
We sent Chris back to the Koma Hills, where C4C began ministering in 2011. “As usual, I slept in the vehicle (hired to drive to Yola) after having entrusted my life and trip into God’s hands,” Chris said.
Chris made arrangements to use an interpreter named Philip, whom he’d previously hired, to visit our old friend Chief Moses and travel to the hill village of Wiwp (pronounced “weep”). We first evangelized in Wiwp during Mission: Nigeria 2011. (CLICK HERE to read “Divine Meetings in Koma Hills.”)
“On arriving, I moved straight to Chief Moses’ house,” Chris recounted. “He welcomed me and offered me a seat, which I sat on for some hours.
“When I asked after Philip, he (Chief Moses) told me he has shifted base to Yola. He, however, had notified Chief Moses of my coming.
“Sad enough, Moses (the Chief's son, who served as our translator in 2011) also traveled to another community for a menial job. I needed a guide who could take me to the Wiwp community so I can pass a night there with them, sharing the Gospel and gifts to them. But all to no avail.
“I was told by Chief Moses that his son will be back the evening I arrived. I called Philip to come and take me to the Wiwp community. He promised coming the following day in the morning, but failed. I did not see either Moses or Philip until I left Koma.
“Some young men that were around could not understand me. I felt so bad that I could not go to the Wiwp community that night. I finally went to bed without seeing either (young) Moses or Philip. While in bed, I began telling God that let His perfect will be done.
“I woke up on Thursday (Feb. 6), which happens to be their biggest market day. I was told by Chief Moses that it will be needless for me to go to the Wiwp community even if I got a guide because most of them will come down to the market. So, I told him to mobilize them and the (local) people for me so I can have a brief discussion with them. He obliged, but it took some time to bring them together.”
Pastor Chris, left, sharing about Jesus in a Koma village. Chief Moses is seated, third from the left. (Photo provided by Chris Joseph)
“After everybody sat down, God surprisingly brought an interpreter when I was about to preach,” Chris said. “I asked one of them to start with a word of prayer. After which I expounded the Word of God to them with authority and anointing of the Holy Ghost. I told them that going to church without having a personal relationship with Christ via salvation is an exercise in futility. Those that don’t go church at all, their situation are the most pitiable. I also told them that worshipping idols is a demonstration of ignorance. I summarized by telling them that if they can surrender their lives to Jesus Christ now, He will overlook their ignorance and grant them a new life and accept them into His kingdom.
“Seven persons, including Chief Moses, raised their hands to accept Christ into their lives.”
Chief Moses apparently was recommitting his life to Christ. He professed to be a Christian during our Evangelic Expedition there in 2011. He laughed at the threats of a village shaman who claimed to have the demonic power to curse people. “This thing will do nothing to me because I am a Christian,” Moses said, when the shaman showed us the tools of his occultic trade. (See “Power in the Blood” in The Climbing Way, Volume 24, Spring-Summer 2012.)
“I was led to pray for the sick and the power of God was mighty to heal the sick and to deliver the oppressed,” Chris continued. “A woman with a malaria parasite, typhoid fever and high blood pressure was prayed for and God manifested His power. Similarly, a young man with a chest pain was prayed for.
“While I was still praying for the sick and the power of God was in action. They brought a young man from the community that is heavily possessed by demons. According to them, every month the demons throw him to the ground, leaving him speechless for sometime. While they were explaining this to me, an unusual anointing came on me which compelled me to violently command the unclean spirits to leave him in the name of Jesus Christ. As I slightly laid my hands on his forehead, the power of God threw him to the ground. I picked him up as repeatedly asked the unclean spirits to completely leave him alone. At every command, the young man was falling. When I finally discovered that he has been delivered, I decreed that, the demons through the blood of Jesus will not repossess him again.
“The people, including Chief Moses, were greatly amazed and they believed the Word of God.”
God has been working on the hearts of the people in the Koma Hills. They are a people who number about 51,000 – 30 percent Christian, according to the Joshua Project. The Koma retreated into the Atlantika Mountains along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon in the second half of the 1800s to avoid paying taxes to the British colonial government. They were thought to have died off when a schoolteacher from India rediscovered a still-primitive people in 1986.
In 2010, the Nigerian media reported: “Among the Koma, a twin birth is regarded as evil, and twins are considered abominable so much so that until recently babies of multiple births used to be buried alive with the women who had the ‘misfortune’ of being their mothers.”
This evil practice may finally be coming to an end.
“Another remarkable thing that happened is the gradual penetration of the light of the Gospel in the Koma communities,” Chris said. “Twins born into a family were considered to be a bad omen and as such were buried alive, but now they are kept alive.”
Twins born into the family of Chief Moses. (Photo by Chris Joseph)
Before leaving the Koma Hills, Chris prayed “that Jesus Christ should reign supreme in Koma communities and Adamawa State. I sent the children (clothing) to be distributed to the Wiwp community, which I perceived needed them most. Chief Moses agreed with me on that step taken. I shared tracts and booklets with them.
“The meeting ended. What seemed to be a disappointment (in the beginning) turned out to be a huge blessing as Chief Moses, whom we assumed is a Christian, gave his life to Christ with several others. Kindly, pray for these new believers.”
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5 (ESV)
NOTE: Nigeria was ranked 14th on the 2014 World Watch list of persecuted nations. “Levels of violence against Christians in 2013 remained extremely high, with hundreds of cases of physical aggression, the destruction of nearly 300 churches and the death of 612 Nigerian Christians,” according to Open Doors, a ministry that serves persecuted Christians globally and annually compiles a list of the most persecuted places. Nigeria ranks among the 14 countries facing “extreme persecution.”
Open Doors reports: “Northern Nigeria was once again reeling from suspected Boko Haram attacks in two locations on Feb. 2, 2014, which left at least 99 people dead. Attackers stormed the Catholic Church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa during a worship service. In a separate incident later that day, at least 52 people died when suspected Boko Haram insurgents set off several bombs at a busy market in Kuwari, Borno State. Assailants also burned down 300 homes in the area.”
Pray for those who are persecuted and also for those doing the persecution (Matthew 5:44).