The Honorable Patrick Toomey
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Toomey,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults from across 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 the teachings and profound love of Jesus. As one of your constituents, I am writing to you 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. Nearly half of all members of the Church of the Brethren in the United States live in Pennsylvania. That amounts to over 50,000 people who attend any of over 200 congregations spread throughout the state.
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 maintaining 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 my faith, who affirm their faith with more bravery than I have ever had to summon, and yet who must endure terrible suffering because of their faith.
As you are a voice for the Pennsylvanian’s 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,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC#2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289