A Christian man who was shot in the face by Boko Haram terrorists after he refused to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ has extended supernatural forgiveness to his persecutors.
Dr. Jason Peters, associate vice-president of connection for the Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that has been working since 1967 to help besieged Christians, recently shared the inspiring story with TheBlaze.
"They were in their home [around] 11 p.m. and all of the sudden they hear pounding on the door. It's Boko Haram ... they start to bringing people out [of their homes]," Peters explained. "As [he] was brought out and asked the question, 'Are you a Christian or a Muslim?' He had to be honest."
The man responded, "I'm a follower of Jesus."
The Islamic extremists attempted to convince the man to renounce his faith and threatened to kill him if he remained a Christian. Unfazed by such threats, the man refused to deny Jesus Christ.
Furious, the militants shot the man in the face before abandoning the house. However, by the grace of God, the Christian man miraculously survived the attack.
"Today, he has a massive scar," Peters said. "He talks awkwardly because of where his cheek was blown away."
Despite the pain and persecution the man experienced at the hands of Islamic extremists, he told the Voice of the Martyrs he bears no ill-will towards them. In fact, he hopes to one day embrace the fighters and share the Gospel with them.
"If I saw the men who did this today, I would hug them and I would tell them, 'I forgive you,'" he said.
Since 2005, Boko Haram has killed thousands and left around 1.5 million displaced in an attempt to create a caliphate, or Islamic state, in northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, they were ranked as the deadliest terrorist group in the world, killing over 6,600 people, compared with the 6,100 who died at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to the Global Terrorism Database.
TheBlaze notes that this account is just one of the many stories of faith and hope in the face of persecution that the Voice of the Martyrs has collected over the years, as the group works in 68 countries and has extensive reach into communities through on-the-ground field workers who collect information from various groups and individuals.
Many of these stories are recounted in "I am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists," a new book that was recently released by the Voice of the Martyrs.
"The theme of the book really is, 'We're not going to let them suffer in silence, nor will we let them stand alone. We're going to stand with them and help them to stand strong for Christ,'" Peters told the media outlet.
He also expressed gratitude that the world is now paying more attention to stories of persecution, particularly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared Islamic extremists are committing "genocide" against Christians and other ancient minority groups.
"We used to have this uphill battle to convince people about persecution - not a problem anymore," he said. "Now, we have to figure out, 'Well what's the Christian response?"
He also revealed that the atrocities perpetrated by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS are driving many Muslims away from Islam and toward the Christian faith.
"They're looking at ISIS and they're saying, 'If that's what being a Muslim means, I don't want to do that,'" Peters said. "We all have this inner compass, we all have general revelation ... many of them are choosing to leave Islam and come to Christ."
Another ministry leader working in the Kurdish Region of Iraq echoed such a sentiment, recently telling Christian Aid Mission that his organization can barely keep up with the desire of refugees to learn about Christ and the Bible, which has grown increasingly strong since ISIS overtook many parts of the region.
"They're just sick of Islam," he said. "People are very hungry to know about Christ, especially when they hear about miracles, healing, mercy and love."
He added, "As terrifying and horrifying as ISIS is, they did us a great favor because they came and have shown them all the killing, saying that it's all in the Koran verses. So now we don't have to say much, we just say the truth."