'Mommy is with Jesus'

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CWN.org - A grieving husband and his two children, unaware their mother will never come home again, stand over an unmarked grave. It's the place where Christiana Oluwasseesin, wife, mother, and Christian martyr was laid to rest.

Watch the report by Greg Musselman of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada in the player above.

Femi Oluwasseesin says he got a call from his wife on the morning of March 21, 2007, on the other side of the country. He was in southwest Nigeria, she was in the northeast in Gombe State. He says she called him:

"Informing me of the problem that her car had been damaged and the school is under commotion."

Femi, a medical laboratory scientist, hired a taxi for the long drive across the country. On the way he called one of Christianah's close friends to find out what she knew, and was told the news that his wife was dead.

"She now told me actually she is gone to glory. From there I was powerless, I couldn't control myself at that spot. I had to tell the taxi driver to stop, I came down from the taxi, people were seeing me like a madman, I was rolling on the ground," he said.

"I was just telling God it must not be, it must not be, and I was praying that God it must not be, you must reverse it, it must not be."

But it was. Christianah's life on earth was over.

But what happened? Why such a violent death?

Christianah was supervising a classroom of teenage students taking an Islamic Knowledge examination. In accordance with school procedure, the students were to place their papers, books and bags in front of the class. One of the girls refused, so Christianah, a devoted teacher who would not permit cheating, took the bag from her.

Femi retells the story:

"Immediately the girl started screaming, 'Allahu Akbar' meaning 'God is Great, God is Great.' So before you know it, she was being attacked as desecrating the Koran, being a Christian she has touched the bag containing the Koran."

But the principal of the public school later told Femi there was no Koran in the bag.

"It was like a paper that somebody wanted to cheat with, she wrote the koranic language, not even the Koran."

The crazed students began to shout and then they beat, stoned and clubbed Christianah to death because she prevented a student from cheating, and because she was a Christian from another part of Nigeria. They then dragged her corpse outside of the building and burned it.

Femi then had to inform his wife's mother that her daughter had been killed. Then he told his 3-year-old daughter Temmy-lad-day that her mother was gone.

"When she asked me, all I told her, because of the assurance I have in me, your mommy is with Jesus. That is what I've been telling her."

Eventually Femi will tell his daughter and infant son what really happened to their mother and that she won't ever be coming home again.

Tema-la-day may not understand why her mommy is no longer around, but she is still traumatized. She was very close to her mother who picked her up everyday after school.

Femi says his daughter believes people are trying to kill her.

She came to him and said, "Daddy they want to kill me."

Femi continues: "The way she spoke to me, she was afraid, she whispered it to my ears, 'They want to kill me.'

"I said who wants to kill you?"

The little girl said to Femi, "Look at them, they want to kill me."

"So immediately I told her, nobody will kill you, you can't be killed. Say it after me, Daddy I can't be killed. That's very good."

What makes this senseless killing even more tragic is it was to be Christianah's final day at the government school in Gombe State, just a few days before her fellow teachers had given her a farewell gathering. Christianah was to join her husband Femi here in Abeokuta in Ogun State, she even had a new job lined up.

Making matters worse is that those who committed the murder may never been prosecuted. Femi's life was shattered, but he says has no option but to forgive those who took his wife away from him.

"The only way I can help myself, live longer and take care of my children, forgive them. But all I'm trying to tell the world is that even though I have forgiven them, I am not able to forget, it's not easy to forget it, but the fact is that, let's see a repentable people."

The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada has established a memorial project in Christianah's memory. Through donations made by Christians from across Canada, the ministry is furnishing a computer classroom at the Voice of the Christians Martyrs school in Abeokuta with 60 computers and desks. Christianah was skilled in computer technology and loved to teach students those important skills.

Femi has also received thousands of letters, cards and notes of encouragements from around the world.

"So all these things that have been done for her is like telling you, you are not alone. Spiritually they are praying for you, physically they are showing it," he said.

Femi's main task in life with God's help is to raise his children in the ways of the Lord, something he and Christianah had agreed to do together. Femi also will make sure they will never forget about their mother and when they are old enough to know she was faithful to Jesus, even until to death.

*Original broadcast May 23, 3008.

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Greg Musselman

Greg Musselman

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

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