Did you know that Eritrea is home to over 100,000 evangelical Christians who are often subjected to severe persecution, torture and imprisonment for their faith?
These courageous brothers and sisters in Christ have turned away from government approved faiths and maintained their love for Jesus at a huge cost to themselves and their families.
And, right now they need your prayers and your help more than ever.
In this impoverished country persecution and strict COVID-19 lockdown orders have pushed many prisoners of faith and their families to the edge of survival.
Because of the strict lockdown restrictions prisoners of faith are not receiving any of the food cooked by Christian mothers who make simple meals for those in local prisons. Food shortages in prison are a massive problem and many prisoners of faith are facing starvation.
The situation is no better for the prisoners’ families who cannot afford the rising food prices and desperately need our help.
You will be helping courageous Eritrean Christians like John* who are suffering so much for their faith.
John gave his life to Jesus when he was at college. As a young Christian, he read Tortured for Christ. This book and others by Richard Wurmbrand prepared him for the persecution he would face a few years later.
One day as John, and about 40 other Christians had gathered to pray, the security police arrived. They let the children, the students and those who had done their military service go. But eleven believers including John were sent to Me’eter, a harsh prison in the Eritrean desert.
John and other prisoners worked long hours in excruciating heat. They cut down trees and loaded them onto trucks to be used as cooking fuel for a nearby town.
“My friends and I – said John – worked hard to spare the prisoners who were less capable of such demanding physical work. We believed this was our witness to them. And, God used our testimony to bring many of them to faith in Jesus.”
He returned home and a year later married his fiancée, Genet. And, just as they were settling into married life in Massawa, another wave of persecution hit their region. John was forced to flee his home, but his wife, pregnant with their first child, was arrested and imprisoned.
Genet was taken, with two other pregnant prisoners of faith, to an island prison. They were given one piece of bread, three times a day and made to do heavy work.
For John, his wife’s imprisonment was worse than his own. The three months Genet was in prison – he said – felt like 30 years to him.
Eventually Genet was released, and she gave birth to a baby boy. At that time, they left Massawa and went back to John’s hometown where our ministry partner provided food and shelter for them through their local church.
Prisoners of faith like John languishing in prisons and detention centres in Eritrea, Pakistan, China and North Korea have no one to turn to for help.
They are trusting God to see them through these difficult times and praying that He will provide.
Here at Release International we believe that God has called us to listen to and respond to the cries for help of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are following Jesus at a huge cost to themselves and their families.
Our partners have identified hundreds of prisoners of faith and their families who urgently need help to survive.
And, they are already working hard using the resources they have to send money so prisoners of faith can buy food, to pay the rent of Christian families whose breadwinners have been imprisoned, to provide much needed medicines for the sick and to feed the hungry.
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or by calling our office on 01689 823491.
Thank you from all of us at Release International,
CEO, Release International
*Names have been changed for security reasons.
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Father God, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Eritrea at this time, particularly those who have been imprisoned for Jesus. Lord, I remember how You were with me through my dark time in prison. I remember how I could hear Your voice and You lifted me up in spirit as Your beloved through that terrible evil.
I particularly pray for those friends I know that are still suffering in prison for their love for You, Lord God.
I pray for our brother John in Ethiopia too. May he find peace, protection and love, and may he continue to be strengthened by You, Jesus.
We pray for his dear wife Genet and their children.
Keep them in grace and peace forever.
Thank you everyone at Release International for holding Eritrea in your hearts
This prayer was written by Helen in support of our Prisoners of Faith and Families Appeal, August 2020. You can download a pdf copy of this prayer and details of how to donate here.
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