Mr. Chad Weinberg
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20523
Dear Mr. Weinberg,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults from across the United States who belong to an active, youth-led movement within the Church of the Brethren to live lives committed to honoring Jesus and his profound love. I am writing this letter to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will be writing to public figures over the next year about the violence in Nigeria.
I have chosen to write to you because I believe that the way USAID responds to and moves forward from the violence currently gripping Nigeria is crucial to the growth and development of Nigeria.
No doubt you remember the 276 schoolgirls from Chibok who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. What few people realize is that roughly three-fourths of these girls belong to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Though Boko Haram’s violence has been terrible and widespread, few have suffered as severely as the EYN.
I’m not interested in telling you only about the suffering of the EYN. I don’t think you’re very interested in hearing about it. What makes the suffering of the EYN important to recognize is not the reality that they are suffering, but the way that they are responding to their suffering: with dignity, courage, and nonviolence.
The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN is a historic peace church. The EYN puts our values of peace, nonviolence, and Christlike enemy love to practice in inspiring, creative, and courageous ways.
These people fill me with hope. And I’m not going to stop sharing their story until people start to listen.
USAID recognizes that religious leaders are incredibly important in times of conflict, and empowering those religious leaders is one of the best ways to manage and mitigate even the most violent conflict. I hope that as USAID continues to evaluate how to best respond to the violence in Nigeria, you keep the example and inspiration of the EYN in mind. By empowering the EYN with aid and relief, you will be investing in good, faithful, and creative people who believe above all in being a beacon of Christ’s love in dark times, spaces, and situations.
I urge you to prayerfully consider how you can help pursue a peaceful solution to the tragedies in Nigeria. Remember the EYN and all Nigerians in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions. Be inspired by their stories. Pay credit to their faith by pursuing humanitarian, nonmilitary aid for the EYN and Nigeria.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15289