Local prayer vigil held for girls kidnapped in Nigeria - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local prayer vigil held for girls kidnapped in Nigeria

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On April 15th, 276 girls were ripped from their boarding schools in Nigeria by the terror group Boko Haram. Fifty-three of them escaped captivity. The leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, said in a video that he planned to sell the girls.

The kidnapping hits close to home for church members right here in Michiana. The Church of the Brethren, based in Elgin, Illinois says many of the girls belonged to its sect in Nigeria. The church adds, the school the girls were kidnapped from was built by the Church of the Brethren mission in the 1940s.

The Nigerian denomination has asked Church of the Brethren members here in the US to enter a season of prayer and fasting and that's what happened Wednesday evening in Goshen.

Church members from Goshen City Church of the Brethren and Nappanee Church of the Brethren gathered for a prayer vigil. They prayed for the kidnapped girls, for their families, and for their captors to have a change of heart.

"I can't even imagine what it would be like to have one of my kids or one of my grand kids taken by someone saying they're going to sell them into slavery. It's just unthinkable," says Pastor of the Nappanee Church of the Brethren, Byrl Shaver.

While members of the church don't personally know the girls, there is a special bond, as many of them belong to the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. "We have long and strong ties with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria and it really does feel like this has hit our family," says Madalyn Metzger with Goshen City Church of the Brethren.

It's been nearly a month since the girls were taken and the church wants the world to know the dire situation. They say perhaps there's more that people here can do to help bring them home. They're asking people to contact Congress, urging them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 433 and to ask Secretary of State John Kerry to put pressure on Nigeria to get the girls released.

"Imagine if over 200 children here in the US had been abducted. It's so huge and it's heart-wrenching for these families," says Metzger.

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