The Honorable Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Portman,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults who belong to an active, passionate movement within the Church of the Brethren to better reflect the love and teachings of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will write to public figures over the next year about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.
I’m sure you remember the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups of people have been as severely effected by the violence in Nigeria as the EYN, and their situation continues to worsen.
On May 23, 2013, you stated, “We should not underestimate the power of prayer through difficult times.” I can’t agree with you more, and I am writing to you as a prayerful act on behalf of the many people in Nigeria who are suffering from terrible violence right now. This August, the Church of the Brethren observed a week of concerted prayer and fasting for the EYN and all the people of Nigeria. As an extension of my prayer and fasting, I will prayerfully write three letters a day to anyone who I think will listen.
Why? The EYN fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. Despite their hardship, the EYN has proven themselves to be faithful and steadfast to their commitment to building peace.
In the face of great hatred, fear, and division, the EYN continually responds with far greater love, courage, and community. They understand that they must be beacons of Christ’s love in a climate darkened by violence. This means being leaders in working to restore community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerians, even when it requires tremendous sacrifice.
I hope you will learn more about the EYN and consider how you can help them. As you said, we must not underestimate the power of prayer in difficult times. I am praying that you and other leaders will partner with the ministry of the EYN, providing them with aid for their safety, and investing in their efforts to build sustainable peace. If all you can do is pray, then please pray. Prayerfully remember the EYN, and use their inspiration to move forward in prayerful action.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289