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Nigerian minister: Pencils saved my church – and my life

The pen — or the pencil, actually — is mightier than the sword. Just ask Simon Dabish.
The minister for a church in a Muslim-dominated part of north-central Nigeria recently received a few boxes of pencils from Healing Hands International.
A pencil manufacturer had donated a large supply of pencils to the Nashville, Tenn.-based ministry, which shipped most of them to Cuba, said chairman and president Randy Steger.
Dabish said his congregation originally planned to give the pencils to church members only, but decided instead to share them with their community. Church members went door-to-door, distributing the pencils to school-age children.
Later, a riot broke out within the Muslim community, and mobs started burning Christian-owned buildings. When they approached the meeting place of Dabish’s congregation, one of the rioters shouted that the building “is not to be touched” because “they are the ones that gave our children pencils,” Dabish said.
The pencils saved Dabish’s life when a second riot broke out some time later, the minister said. A mob seized Dabish as he was returning from preaching in a nearby village and threatened to kill him. When someone recognized him, the mob escorted him home.
Healing Hands spokesman Brandon Post said the minister’s story is “a testimonial for the tremendous impact that humanitarian relief can have on the hearts of people.”
August 1, 2006

Filed under: International

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