1000+ Letters for Nigeria day 21 #PeaceDay

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

In honor of the International Day of Peace, all of today’s letters go to public figures working to build peace, including Jeremy Gilley, one of the founding members of the International Day of Peace.

Jeremy Gilley: Founder of Peace One Day and instrumental creator of the International Day of Peace
Avon Mattison: Founder and president of Pathways to Peace
Bishop William Swing: Founder and president of the United Religions Initiative

Before you read the letters, consider how you can create and build peace. Pray. Serve. Love. Act. Follow Jesus. And consider what you can do to pull peace into September 22nd.

Click the pictures to read the letters!

Want to get involved?

Contribute to the project!

Send non-monetary donations (stamps and envelopes) to:
Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Sign up to write your own letters!

Contribute directly to the EYN Compassion Fund!

Have a project of your own?

We want to know about it! This is your movement, and we’re here to help you express your Radical, nonconformist approach to following Jesus!

Please fill out a Dunker Punks Profile and email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com about your vision!

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Letters for Nigeria Day 8

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria.

Today features another round of letters inspired by a sponsor: all three people who represent her in Congress. If you would like to become a sponsor and be able to suggest recipients, check the links below. There are also many other great ways that you can get involved, or you can tell us about a project of your own, and we’ll see what we can do to help you out! Check below!

I had an interesting time writing one of these letters. It is a letter to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. I try to write to a lot of legislators that have foreign aid or foreign policy specific focuses, but Senator Blumenthal’s only real connection to foreign policy is that he is a prominent member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. So, I had to not only advocate for peaceful assistance for the EYN, but I also had to explain why I think military intervention is not appropriate.

Todays letters go to:

Senator Richard Blumenthal – Senate Committee on Armed Forces
Senator Chris Murphy – Senate Subcommittee on International Development on Foreign Assistance
Representative Rosa DeLauro – US Representative from Connecticut

Click the pictures to read the letters!

Want to get involved?

Contribute to the project!

Send non-monetary donations (stamps and envelopes) to:
Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Sign up to write your own letters!

Contribute directly to the EYN Compassion Fund!

Have a project of your own?

We want to know about it! This is your movement, and we’re here to help you express your Radical, nonconformist approach to following Jesus!

Please fill out a Dunker Punks Profile and email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com about your vision!

1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 7

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria.

Before I get to today’s letters, an important update on the EYN and their situation from COB Newsline:

“Prayer is requested for the students and staff of Kulp Bible College (KBC), and the leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as the decision has been made to temporarily close the college. Students will be leaving for other areas of the country, and headquarters staff also may be making ready to leave as Boko Haram forces advance to within 50 kilometers of the EYN headquarters.” – Church of the Brethren Newsline

And a tweet today from COB General Secretary Stanley Noffsinger:

The most important action you can take right now is to double your prayers for peace and safety.

Click here to give to the Emergency Disaster Fund.

Today’s letters go to:

Daniel Burke – Editor, CNN Belief Blog
Antonio de Aguiar Patriota – Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the UN Peacebuilding Commission
Jody Williams – Professor, Activist, and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Click the pictures to read the letters!

 

Want to get involved?

Contribute to the project!

Send non-monetary donations (stamps and envelopes) to:
Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Sign up to write your own letters!

Contribute directly to the EYN Compassion Fund!

Have a project of your own?

We want to know about it! This is your movement, and we’re here to help you express your Radical, nonconformist approach to following Jesus!

Please fill out a Dunker Punks Profile and email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com about your vision!

 

 

 

Not Playing Around: 1000+ Letters for Nigeria

nigeria

Do you remember the 276 school girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram? Does #BringOurGirlsBack ring a bell? Many of those girls belong to the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. The EYN is suffering terribly at the violence of Boko Haram.

Yet, what makes their story so inspiring to me is not the bad, but the good that exists despite the bad. The Church of the Brethren (including the EYN) is one of three historic peace churches. While we in the United States never face a real threat to our love of peace, the EYN is confronted with that challenge everyday. In spite of all the evil, hatred, and violence that the EYN has endured, they choose to respond with courage, love, and nonviolence.

Midway through August, the Church of the Brethren observed a week of prayer and fasting in solidarity of the EYN.

I believe that fasting has the potential to be so powerful because it recognizes that when we make space in our lives for Jesus, his love can shine through us in some pretty amazing ways.

I decided that I wouldn’t just fast for that week, but I would extend my fast for an entire year by salvaging hours of my time that I waste playing computer games to do something better with that time.

I am going to use that time to write three letters every day about the EYN for the next year.

From today, September 1st, 2014 every day until September 1st, 2015, I will write and mail three letters to public figures.

This includes:

  • Elected Officials
  • Other Government Officials
  • Philanthropists
  • Media
  • Celebrities
  • Religious Leaders
  • Anyone who will listen

I will share with them the story of the EYN, and I will ask them to get involved however they can. This may mean sharing the story of the EYN on their social media and programs, donating to the EYN compassion fund, or setting aside aid money for the EYN.I want to emphasize the role that their creativity can play in making a difference.

I also want to emphasize that the only way to honor the EYN’s commitment to peace and nonviolence, is to explore and support solutions that also emphasize peace and nonviolence. From government officials, the only aid I will seek is humanitarian, nonmilitary aid.

I cannot do this alone.

The cost of sending over 1000 letters is well above $500.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Contribute to help me pay for stamps and envelopes
  2. Send me donations of stamps and envelopes
  3. Write letters of your own
  4. Pray
  5. Share my campaign and the EYN’s story with others
  6. Contribute to the EYN compassion fund

Contribute monetary donations at http://www.gofundme.com/dszfc8

(GoFundMe.com is a completely safe and secure website. It is among the most reputable and successful crowd funding platforms. If you have questions or concerns about donating through Go Fund Me, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/questions/)

All donations will go directly to purchasing stamps or envelopes, except for the Go Fund Me service fee. Any funds left over after 365 days of letter will be donated to the EYN compassion fund.

Send donations of stamps and envelopes to:

Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC # 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Write letters of your own!

Fill out this pledge form to commit to writing one letter a month or more on behalf of the EYN. If I can write three letters a day, you can write a few letters too!

Click here to donate directly to the EYN Compassion Fund.

The EYN gives me hope. They inspire me. So I’m not going to stop talking until I get people to listen. Join me. Support me. Pray for me and for the EYN.

Why Peace is the Only Option

Today was to be the first day in a three-day “humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, allowing aid to be delivered to those caught in the conflict, bodies to be removed, and, it was hoped, delegates from Israel and Hamas to meet in Cairo to discuss terms for a longer ceasefire. Some officials hoped that this ceasefire might lead to a more lasting hiatus in the three and a half week-long conflict.

Only hours after the cease-fire was announced, it was broken, and already dozens have died from escalated fighting, with hundreds more injured. Perhaps those who hoped that this ceasefire might lead to something bigger didn’t recall that this was to be the fourth cease-fire since fighting began a few weeks ago, and that each of those ceasefires ended within hours. Perhaps they didn’t realize that even the longer periods without fighting over the past years have been nothing but ceasefires. It should be apparent to those closest to this conflict that a ceasefire is not a sustainable solution.

The problem is, calling for only a ceasefire suggests that more violence is inevitable. Saying, “Let’s stop fighting for three days,” places more emphasis on the “three days” than on the “stop fighting”. Anytime we allow violence to seem inevitable, we create a self-fulfilling prophesy that violence will return. It’s as if, by so weakly condemning violence, we actually condone it.

Well, we as Dunker Punks don’t believe in weakly condemning violence. We echo our Dunker Punk ancestors from Annual Conference in 1930 who stood up and resolved, “All War is Sin.” We say, enough with ceasefires that condone more fighting after a period of silence. We say, enough.

We call for nothing less than peace. The second problem with a ceasefire is that people often mistake it for peace. The difference is, in a ceasefire, both sides do little – if not nothing – as they prepare for the fighting to resume. Whether the ceasefire is to last three days, three decades, or indefinitely, there is always the promise of more violence to come. So neither side can focus on anything but making sure that they are ready for the violence to return.

A ceasefire, then, becomes a time of doing nothing to resolve the conflict, rather than being proactive in resolving the conflict diplomatically. Who can meet cordially with their enemy and get something meaningful done, while still making preparations to attack that same enemy? Who can love their enemy, while still fortifying their hatred for that enemy? No wonder so many ceasefires are ended prematurely.

A ceasefire is a passive period where both sides sit in anticipation of more violence. Israeli officials claim that they were willing to honor the ceasefire, but that Hamas attacked first and forced them to retaliate. Maybe it’s true that Hamas attacked first. But the devastation that Israel has unloaded upon Palestinian civilians over the past few hours shows that, to them, a cease-fire is nothing more than an opportunity to prepare for more fighting.

Peace is different. Anyone who thinks that peace is passive hasn’t tried it. Peace is an active decision to love your enemy, to turn away from violence, and embrace other means of handling conflict. Peace isn’t easy. But only though peace can we hope to accomplish anything meaningful.

Dunker Punks call for peace. Pray for peace. Mobilize to create peace. Dunker punks, follow the example set by Jesus, and be leaders in demanding and building peace.

Share your thoughts.  What can we do to better pursue peace? How can the Dunker Punk community be leaders in accomplishing peace?