Nigerian archbishop who shelters orphans amidst intense persecution by Boko Haram extremists to be honoured

Michael Eli Dokosi Sep 24, 2019 at 09:04am

September 24, 2019 at 09:04 am | Faces of Black Excellence

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

September 24, 2019 at 09:04 am | Faces of Black Excellence

Photo Credit: Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi

Nigerian Archbishop of Jos Benjamin Ben Kwashi and his wife, Gloria, have offered shelter and a safe haven for orphans throughout the years despite coming up against steep challenges.

In 2018, during clashes between Muslims and Christians, cattle rustlers attacked the preacher man’s home which housed about 60 orphans.

The rustlers seized nine cows and killed a neighbour who challenged them by shining a torch in their direction.

However, Archbishop Kwashi, having become aware of the attackers’ presence on his compound, ordered everyone to stay indoors and be still on that fateful June 30, according to reports.

Archbishop Kwashi is a partner of Release International, which serves the persecuted church around the world. He’s called repeatedly for the government to step up security to protect Christians under attack in the north.

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi via releaseinternational.org

His resolve to continue being a Christian leader is admirable given his home has suffered over four attacks with one leading to his wife Gloria, being partially blinded. The Archbishop and his wife have fostered hundreds of orphans throughout the years.

Release International, the organisation Archbishop Kwashi belongs to, reckons there’s a conscious effort to drive Christians out from Nigeria’s north with Fulani herdsmen killing unarmed farmers and ordinary people.

Over 218 deaths have been recorded, the organisation said, adding that Boko Haram militants are also effecting killings on religious lines.

While the situation has not been ideal, there is a ray of hope for Kwashi and his family as 21Wilberforce, a Christian organisation, is set to honour him and his wife, for enduring persecution in Nigeria.

At the Dallas Baptist University on September 30, Archbishop Kwashi and wife Gloria will receive the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award from 21Wilberforce.

According to 21Wilberforce, Kwashi had shown immense courage even when he received multiple death threats and his wife endured a savage beating by Islamist militants. He also endured the moment he lost his home and church through fire.

Founder and President of 21Wilberforce, Randel Everett, said: “Their life story is one of courage, faith and boundless love.”

In spite of the suffering the Kwashis endured personally, the couple took in 50 orphans who lost their parents due to violence.

Kwashi is also the General Secretary of GAFCON, the Global Anglican Future Conference.

He also has a book authored on him about living on ‘the front line’ in the north of Nigeria.

Written by Andrew Boyd, Neither Bomb nor Bullet, Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop on the Front Line, charts the Archbishop’s life from childhood into the Nigerian army, his encounter with God and how his Christian faith has put him and his family at risk from extremist persecution.

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