The Honorable Bill Shuster
2209 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Shuster,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults from across the 9th District, Pennsylvania, and 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. As one of your constituents, I am writing about a troubling situation that is deeply personal to many Pennsylvanians.
As you likely recall, during the night of April 14-15, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. As you likely don’t realize, roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), which is the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. In fact, the EYN suffers the brunt of much of the violence of Boko Haram, including horrific, brutal kidnappings, destruction, and murder. The EYN and others in Nigeria who face such attacks are in great need of help.
Though the Church of the Brethren is a small denomination, there are many profound reasons why you should share our concern for the EYN and all who suffer in Nigeria. Here are two.
1. You represent parts of two districts within the Church of the Brethren: some of the Western Pennsylvania District, and much of the Central Pennsylvania District. These two districts within the denomination are two of the most populous, meaning you represent more members of the Church of the Brethren than almost any other member of the House of Representatives.
2. The EYN has been a remarkable testament of faith in the past months, as they have endured suffering and horrors beyond what most of us in the United States can begin to imagine. Though their trials are great, they have remained steadfast in their love of Christ, and they have shown truly inspiring courage in sticking to their commitment to peaceful living and loving their enemies. As part of the Church of the Brethren, a historic peace church, the EYN has condemned any measures of violent retaliation, and they have time and again answered horrific injustice with awe-inspiring, Christlike love. Truly, there are no human beings that I know of who are more inspiring than the EYN.
I ask for your help because my heart aches every time I think about those who share and surpass my faith, who affirm their faith, yet who must endure terrible suffering because of their faith.
As you are a voice for all those within the 9th district who care deeply about this issue, I urge you to prayerfully consider what you can do to help pursue a peaceful solution to the tragedies in Nigeria. Remember the EYN and the people of Nigeria in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions. Be inspired by their stories, and pay credit to their faith by pursuing humanitarian, nonmilitary aid for these people.
With thanks and the Love of Christ,
413 Bella Street
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648