JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram a month ago. Despite global attention, they've yet to be found.
The "Bring Back Our Girls" message has made its way to the White House, and now to the River City.
With signs and a loudspeaker, the message was not only heard but felt throughout Hemming Plaza with hopes that the abducted girls will be saved.
"Our heart beats for people. We are a very covenant Christian church, so this is part of St. Paul being St. Paul," said Sonjanique Guns.
"We wanted to, as a community, join in the collective voice globally regarding bringing back our girls," said John Guns, Senior Pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church of Jacksonville. "This has bothered us, disturbed us all. I'm a father of three girls. I wonder, how would I respond to this, what kind of effect would it have on me?"
Adults and children alike stood together not only to pray for the safety of the abducted girls but to shed light on what Gun sees as an international problem.
"At the end of the day, this is happening all over the world, not as mass of a number but individually this is happening to our girls and our young men and we have to remind the world that we take seriously what it means to protect the sanctity of our young children and especially our young ladies." Guns said.
The church decided to launch its "Save Our Daughters" program, similar to the church's "Save Our Sons" program, but aimed at helping young girls in the community.
"We're going to bring together a lot of teenage girls and a lot of incredible women and our goal is to empower our young people to let them know they are beautiful and amazing and nothing should ever deter from their destinies," Guns said.
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