Markus Gamache

Markus Gamache

Country: Nigeria
Activity: Activist, Community organiser, NGO director, Pastor
Keywords: change, forgiveness, love, violence

Markus was born into a pagan family. He was the first boy born to his mother, who was the fourth wife of his father. He grew up in the bush where each wife had three huts, one for sleeping, one for cooking and one for storing corn and making beer. The father had a hut to himself in the center of the compound. Markus grew up with many brothers and sisters. When he was about 7 years old to 10 years old he began going to school where he learned to read the Koran and was learning the Muslim prayers. His father was a leader in the community and became a Muslim and so his whole family became Muslim. This was when Markus was 13 years old. Between the age of 10 and 13 Markus and the other boys in his school met a Christian man who told them it would be very difficult to become a Muslim; because if you did not recite the prayers just right they would burn you with a hot poker stick. Markus decided to become a Christian out of this fear. When his father decided the family would become Muslim, Markus was kicked out of the house and built a small corn stalk house at the edge of the village. His mother lived with him until he was 15 years old, when his father required her to return home. She continued to support him with food placed over the fence. Currently Markus’ father is deceased and his mother is living in his home as a Muslim. He has many Muslim friends and family members as well as Christian friends and family members.

Markus has been working with interfaith relations for years. He has six children, two with his first wife who died of complications of diabetes when the children were 7 and 8 years old. He then married his current wife Janada and they have four children ages 7, 5, 3 and 6 months old. Markus works with the EYN church and is the representative from EYN to the Church of the Brethren, USA. This requires much time and energy away from his family. He hosts visitors to Nigeria, making many things possible. He visits both in USA and Germany to continue work for the church. During the Crisis since 2014 Markus shared he has not slept in his bed. He has hosted many people in his home, both Muslim and Christian, all running for their lives from Boko Haram. He lives in a three bedroom home, with one bathroom. He described hosting over 60 people in his home at one point. Not just of a night or two, but for months. It was a hard burden… to feed these people. Little children were everywhere, sometimes defecating and urinating on the floors. His wife was exhausted and their marriage stressed. So the interfaith camp at Gurku…was born out of necessity. The Church of the Brethren and many others have supported its ministry. Before I get lost in the story of Gurku, let me say that Markus still hosts 20 people in his home and he continues to covet time with his family and his wife. Still giving up his bed for others, he is a servant for sure, with much sacrifice.

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