The Honorable Charles Dent
2455 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Dent,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I want to tell you about a group of people that inspire me: the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will be sending to public figures over the next year about the EYN and the violence in Nigeria.
I am one of many youth and young adults within the Church of the Brethren who belong to an active, passionate movement to live in a manner that better reflects the love and teachings of Jesus in our everyday lives. Though I’ve never met anyone from the EYN, much of my inspiration for choosing to live in this way comes from their story.
I’m sure you remember the 276 school girls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. What few people realize is that roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN.
The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. In the United States, it’s easy for us Brethren to hold a theoretical love of peace that is never tested by the realities of violence and hardship. The EYN lives in a very different situation, and they are forced daily to reevaluate whether peace is the best option for their survival.
Though their trials are far greater than anything I can even imagine, the EYN have shown tremendous courage and faithfulness in constantly reaffirming and living their devotion to nonviolence. The EYN understand that they are called to be a beacon of Christ in the darkness of a violent culture. They understand that leadership sometimes requires suffering and sacrifice to pave the way for a better world. Despite the great hatred, fear, and division they endure daily, they respond with even greater love, courage, and community.
These people fill me with hope, and I’m never going to stop advocating for them.
I urge you to consider what you can do to bring peace for these people. Your congressional district partially covers one of the most populous districts within the Church of the Brethren, so you have many constituents, including one of the sponsors listed on the back, who care deeply about this issue. Be inspired by the EYN’s story like I am. Become an advocate for them in congress. Pay credit to their faith, inspiration, and sacrifice by pursuing humanitarian, nonmilitary aid for them and by investing in their creative, humble, and uplifting pursuit of peace, justice, and community for all Nigerians.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15289