Gwagwalada, Abuja -- It's hard to believe in our modern world that the birth of twins could be considered a curse upon a family. But that is precisely what we found just outside Abuja, the Capitol city of Nigeria.
More than 40 different villages in this region sacrifice children... Some are buried alive with a mother who dies in childbirth... Some are left in a room when a mother gets ill and passes away, and they cry alone until they die of starvation... Still others are sacrificed during planting season with a belief it will increase crop production. They might be given a poisonous root that will make them sick until they die. These are real practices happening in modern times by people who have not heard the light of the gospel.
How could you consider these adorable ones a curse?
Today we were at the home of Pastor Saula and his wife Gloria who have rescued 33 children from this shocking and unthinkable practice. We crowded into a room about 10 foot square with 3 cribs and a bunk bed, to meet 10 infants under 1 year old.
Rachel and Rebecca are 7 month old twins who are half their normal size. They came to live here the day after they were born. Gloria shared that she wasn't sure if they would live because they were so tiny.
Favor and Favorite are twin sisters who are 9 months. People in their village said they were cursed because they are twins. Their parents risked being outcasts in their village because they did not sacrifice the girls but chose instead to sneak them away to this crowded home.
Besides the baby room, there is a small room for boys and the same for girls. Most are under age 7 and this couple can expect a call at any time that a new baby is being brought immediately to their home.
The exciting news is in a few days all these children will move into a new orphanage built by Orphan's Promise! We toured the facility today and I counted 4 rooms for boys and 4 rooms for girls plus a large infant room! I asked the children if they were excited to move to "the big house" and they were as excited as children on Christmas morning. The older children understand that for the first time they will have their own bed, their own pillow, a space just for them. That is quite a gift.
Pastor Saula and Gloria are dedicated to giving these children hope.
"I have every reason to believe their future is brighter," says Gloria. "They will have education... and education is power. "
Even now as Pastor Saula and Gloria work in these villages, they are seeing parents come to Jesus and eyes are being opened concerning this brutality against children. One chief secretly disagrees with the sacrifices and brought two children to live in the home.
"I believe God is raising an army to use in these places (villages). We are not just involved in keeping children alive. These children are going to grow up and go back and change their communities."
If you met this couple and all these children you would also have every confidence that God is doing an amazing work here in Africa.