FINDING A NEW FAMILY
Lilian Kumzwan (41) and her husband, Jacob Kumzwan, adopted their two nephews, Nantur (16) and Nanpak (14) Wilson, after both their parents were killed in religious riots in lower Plateau state in 2004.
The boys’ late father, Pastor Wilson, had dedicated his life to serving and evangelising Muslims. Many Muslims had accepted Christ and joined Pastor Wilson’s ministry, creating tension among the villagers.
On the fateful day of the violence, Pastor Wilson was caught in an ambush. It wasn’t until after security forces had stabilised the area that Christians discovered his mutilated body.
The boys’ mother tried to escape with two of her children. They ran for kilometres only to stumble into a campsite of Muslim militants. The militants tried to force the mother to recant her Christian faith, but she refused by shouting: “Nothing can stop me from loving Jesus, not your swords or your guns!”
As she made the statement, one of her sons was shot dead. At that moment, the other son with her, Nanpak, tried to run away but was shot and fell to the ground, bleeding. The Muslims thought he was dead and turned to the mother. Nanpak lay on the ground, watching as they killed his mother.
The Muslims left and Nanpak managed to get help from Christians who lived a few kilometres from where his mother’s body lay. The Christians took him to a clinic where he received medical attention for his gunshot wound.
The other boy, Nantur, ran in another direction than his mother and two brothers when the violence erupted. Miraculously he managed to escape the religious violence unharmed. Much later, he met Nanpak at a house where he was looked after.
Being only 13 and 11, Nantur and Nanpak were severely traumatised from losing both their parents in such a cruel way. However, Lilian felt so much compassion and love for the boys that she adopted them as her own.
Lilian takes great joy from having the two boys in her care. She strives to give them her best. Above all she thanks God for providing her with sufficient grace as she looks after them. An Open Doors co-worker reported that during his visit to Lilian, he was unable to distinguish between her own children and the adopted boys.
“There is nothing better than to love and care for someone in need,” shared Lilian. “It is my prayer that God will help me to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the children in my care.
“The boys are wonderful children and so obedient. I cannot recall them ever complaining about anything. They have learnt to put their trust in the Lord, and that is great.”
Lilian is determined to see that the boys are able to live their dreams. She and her husband are taking the full responsibility of seeing them through school, in spite of their meagre income. Spiritually, Lilian is also making time to study the Word of God with the children, thus ensuring their spiritual growth.
“My husband and I have no regrets about adopting these boys. We want the best for them, and God will help us and provide our every need,” said Lilian.
Despite the price his father has paid, Nantur dreams of becoming a pastor just like his father.
“I want to work for the Lord to reach out to Muslims with the Gospel,” said Nantur. “I also want to be killed for the sake of the gospel. I know Jesus will never let me down. The Lord is my Father and will never fail me.”
Lilian and her family show that persecution in Nigeria affects people in many ways. Through her sacrificial love, Lilian is encouraging other believers to keep looking to God and doing good to others.