(Open Doors USA) — The last thing 17-year-old Esther remembers seeing the day her world turned upside down was her father’s collapsed body lying lifeless on the ground.
Before that October day, Esther and her father lived a pretty simple life after her mother passed away. She attended school and took care of her ailing father as best she could.
In October 2015, everything changed when Islamic extremist group Boko Haram (which translates “non-Islamic education is a sin”) struck her town. When the first gunshots rang out, followed by harrowing screams, Esther and her father ran to escape. It was too late—the attackers had already surrounded their house.
The rebel militants struck down her father and left him in a heap on the ground. Esther became a Boko Haram captive. As rebel fighters carried off her and several other young women in the town to their hideout in the Sambisa Forest (where Boko Haram drove thousands of those they kidnapped), she continued to look back, her eyes fixed on her father. Esther doesn’t know if he survived or died that day.