The Honorable Christopher Murphy
303 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Murphy,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults from across the United States who belong to an active and passionate movement within the Church of the Brethren to more closely reflect the love and teaching of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing 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 Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.
As a member of the Senate Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, you should consider the EYN’s story in your decision making. I’m sure you remember the 276 schoolgirls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups have suffered from the violence in Nigeria more severely than the EYN, and their situation continues to grow more dire.
What makes their story most worthy of your attention and the attention of your Subcommittee is not only their suffering, but the inspiring, courageous way that they have responded to their suffering. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. Though are confronted by the practical realities of violence and extreme hardship, the EYN has not forsaken its allegiance to peace.
Despite bearing the force of great hate, fear, and division, the EYN continues to respond with even greater love, courage, and community. They understand that they must be a beacon of Christ’s love, cutting through a climate of hate with subversive, creative, and active nonviolence. They have taken up the yolk of leadership in restoring community, dialogue, and dignity to all Nigerians, even though that type of leadership comes with it enormous sacrifice.
These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.
As a body of lawmakers making decisions about international development, I hope your subcommittee recognizes how significant faith leaders can be in building lasting human security and laying the foundation for development. As a body with influence over where foreign aid should be allocated, I hope you will recognize how dire yet hopeful the situation in Nigeria is.
The EYN is in desperate need of help. Just yesterday, EYN leadership evacuated their headquarters and students vacated the EYN Kulp Bible College as Boko Haram continues to inch closer to their village. I urge you to keep the EYN and all people in Nigeria in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions. Invest in their creative and courageous response to restoring community in the face of terrible hardship. Pay credit to their inspiration and commitment to peace by exploring the possibility of humanitarian, nonmilitary aid for the EYN and all people of Nigeria.
With thanks and the Love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289