Pastoral Empathy: Philip Nache, Persecuted In Nigeria, Ministers to War-Weary South Sudanese

Philip Nache, who faced Boko Haram terror threats in Nigeria, imparts his compassion — and the Gospel — to South Sudanese who have taken refuge in Minneapolis, where Nache leads Hope of Nations Evangelical Church.

When Philip Nache was growing up in Nigeria, the young Christian had plenty of friends among the majority Muslim population in his hometown.

“Boko Haram wasn’t there yet,” he said of the militant Islamist group that has ravaged the central African country in recent years. “Most of my friends were Muslims. They would come to our house to sleep. We had that family relationship.”

Nache would visit the mosque and his friends would visit the church. He tried to learn some Arabic when they would teach him.

But he never gave up his faith in Christ.

“I didn’t know that, through those experiences, God was preparing me for when I grew up,” Nache said. “I love Muslims and I desire to reach out to them, and knowing about Islam has helped me to do that.”

For 20 years in Africa, he gave witness to his faith, both personally and through a DVD he created to explain the Gospel to followers of Islam. It’s been distributed over and over in Nigeria.

Then it fell into the hands of Boko Haram a few years back. Threats on his life soon followed.

“I have story after story of persecution,” Nache said. “But I also have story after story of how God protected me.”

He can see God’s hand on his life when he and his wife Jummai finally fled Nigeria and landed in Minneapolis. They began to meet people from South Sudan who also were fleeing violence in their country.

“They are people who are suffering a lot from war, and having seen where they came from, I deeply identify with them,” Nache said. “You hardly will find one that does not have some story of coming here because of war.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Grace Thornton