You know how sometimes you can’t get something out of your mind? Maybe it is a special moment, a Bible verse, a song or a person. That’s how I feel about an Eritrean Christian couple called Dawit* and Fatemah*. Their story of faith and sacrifice has really impacted me.
And I hope that by sharing their story with you today you too will be inspired to pray for, and help persecuted Christians like them who are forced to flee their country because of their faith.
In the summer of 2006 Dawit and Fatemah were rejoicing at the birth of their second child. At that time Dawit was serving as a pastor in Eritrea while Fatemah was actively involved in a compassion ministry of their church, helping poor families in practical ways.
Just a few months later their lives were turned upside down by suffering and persecution.
In October 2006 Dawit was arrested and sent to prison for sharing the gospel. Fatemah was arrested too, in 2010, and their young and scared children were left in the care of relatives.
The couple endured beatings and interrogations, but they did not renounce their faith. And, although Fatemah was released six months later, Dawit remained in prison, for 11 more years.
In Eritrea when Christians are released from prison, they are likely to be arrested again. That is why many of them are forced to leave the country. This is what Fatemah had to do.
In 2016 she made the painful and dangerous decision to flee to Uganda. And, although it broke her heart, she had to leave her children behind because they would be safer with her family.
Your gifts to Release International have enabled our partner in Eritrea to help Fatemah’s family. She worked hard as a maid and cleaner in exile, praying that Dawit would be released, and her children safe. And she sent money back to them whenever she could.
Dawit was released in 2017 and has spent the time since then trying to reunite his broken family. Recently they received the fantastic news that they can resettle in a new country and restart their lives as a family. The children will finally be reunited with their mother and father at long last.
Refusing to abandon their strong Christian faith and sharing the gospel cost Dawit and Fatemah all they held dear, but they do not regret their decision to follow Jesus.
Will you help Christians in flight like Dawit and Fatemah to rebuild their lives in a new country by giving £25 or more to Release International?
Yes, I will help Christian families in flight
Thankfully, many of the Christian refugees managed to escape from the camps in Tigray when the fighting started – although some were taken captive by the Eritrean army.
The situation of persecuted Christians in flight is worsening in other parts of the world too.
For example, Christian refugees from Syria living in Lebanon are facing a severe economic crisis – worsened by last year’s devastating port explosion – and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some 3 million people have now fled Ukraine, with most heading across the border into Poland. Release International is assisting its sister mission there working with churches to help those who have fled.
Also, many Christian refugees living in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, need help too, including families who have managed to return to their homes and are seeking to re-build their lives.
Our Release International partners are doing all they can, but they need your help more than ever to help more families find new hope and in Christ.
Will you stand with Christians in flight like Dawit and Fatemah and help them re-build their lives?
Distributing aid to Christians in Nigeria with our partner.
Here are some of the things your generosity can make possible:
A gift of £25 could help provide food parcels for vulnerable families.
A gift of £50 could ensure that Christians in flight receive pastoral care and support to stand strong in their faith.
A gift of £100 could help provide vocational training to help believers start small businesses.
A gift of £250 could cover three months’ rent for a Christian family in flight in Pakistan putting shelter over their heads.
Right now, the timing is still critical to send emergency food kits, to provide pastoral care and offer financial support to Christians in flight in Eritrea, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and elsewhere.
He encourages us to show love, mercy and compassion to those who are suffering. Today we can serve Him and our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ by helping them in their hour of need.
Together we can brighten their lives and show them that they are not alone.
With every blessing,
CEO, Release International
* Names have been changed for security reasons.
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Lord, we lift to You all our brothers and sisters who have been forced to flee, simply because they love You.
Father, continue to uphold all of the displaced believers who have left their homes, their work, their friends and their land through fear of those who seek to kill them because they call You their Lord and Master.
In so many countries our family is in flight. The list of countries seems to grow each day and we pray for our brothers and sisters in Syria, in Iran, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in North Korea, in Nigeria and for our partners who seek to help them adjust to living in a new place when they arrive without so many of the bare essentials which we take for granted.
Father, help us to help them. As they trust in You – so do we, and we ask now that our gifts will be used wisely and to great effect by those who receive them; that none of us will lose our faith in You; and that Your kingdom will continue to grow on Earth despite the opposition it faces in so many places around the world.
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