The Honorable James Entwistle
Embassy of the United States of America
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja, Nigeria
Dear Ambassador Entwistle,
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 of your importance in United States relations with Nigeria.
You recall the night in April when 276 school girls in Chibok were kidnapped by Boko Haram. What few people realize is that roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Though the violence of Boko Haram has been terrible and expansive, few groups have suffered as severely as the EYN.
You know about this situation and the violence of Boko Haram. I want to write to you about the EYN not because of their hardship, but because of their inspiring faith in spite of such terrible hardship.
The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. In the United States, its easy for us to hold a theoretical love of peace because we are far removed from any challenge or conflict to remaining peaceful and nonviolent. The EYN faces a very different situation. I cannot begin to describe how courageous and faithful the EYN has been. They have remained firm in their conviction to approaching the world in a peaceful, loving, and Christlike manner. Though they endure great and terrible hate and violence, they respond with even greater love and nonviolence.
These people fill me with hope. I’m not going to stop sharing their story until the world pays attention.
As the US Ambassador to Nigeria, you have the ability to impact how our foreign policy is implemented in Nigeria, and you have a say in what that foreign policy will look like. There is no greater hope for Nigeria than people like the EYN — people who move forward courageously and peacefully, who refuse to add to the prevailing tradition of violence that so deeply plagues this region. I think that approach of understanding and compassion is the only way for a sustainable peace to be built in Nigeria.
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 SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289