Day 17: Paul Schrag

Paul Schrag
Mennonite World Review Inc.
129 West Sixth Street
P.O. Box 568

Dear Mr. Schrag,

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 about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.

Since I have begun my series, I was deeply moved and encouraged to discover an article you wrote called “Resisting an Evil Spirit” about the violence in Nigeria that captures the same belief that I hope to reflect in my letters. As you know, the EYN is suffering from the violence in Nigeria, and their situation continues to worsen. This past week, many of the staff of the EYN, including EYN President Samuel Dali, evacuated as Boko Haram approached their community.

When you wrote your article, Nigeria was the focus of widespread public attention. Now, though the situation continues to grow more dire, the American media and public have given Nigeria far less thought. It is my hope that writing to you and other opinion makers will bring the suffering of the EYN and all in Nigeria back to the public’s attention, and, like me, they will feel moved to do something.

As your article touches upon, the way we define this situation shouldn’t be to focus solely on the EYN’s suffering. It is best to focus on their suffering from the perspective of their response to their suffering. As you know, the Church of the Brethren is a historic peace church. The EYN live in a reality of horrific violence and the temptation of retaliation, but they have struggled to remain committed to peace.

In the face of great hatred, fear, and division, the EYN have responded with far greater love, courage, and community. They understand that they must be beacon’s of Christ’s love in a climate darkened by violence. This means being leaders in working peacefully to sustainably restore community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerian, even when it means sacrifice.

These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.

Please, continue to write about the EYN and share their story with your readers. In your article, you suggest an important question that I’ve had to ask myself many times: If I was in their place, could my faithfulness be so great? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will do everything in my power to make sure the EYN are not alone. Join me in sharing their story. Join me in reminding the world that even the darkest of circumstances carry somewhere in their depths the hope of Christ and his love. The EYN are carrying that spark of love, but they need our help.

With thanks and the love of Christ,

Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289


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