It has been almost ten years since the closure of all independent churches in Eritrea. On May 12, 2002 all evangelical churches were shut down following the government’s ban on all religious groups other than state-approved Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran or Islamic groups. Anyone discovered to be an evangelical is tortured and forced to revert to the registered denominations. If they don’t, they are held in military camps without trial. Around 1500 are believed to be imprisoned.
Open Doors International and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) are partnering efforts to send letters to the Eritrean High Commission and Eritrean Embassies worldwide. By flooding them with letters from around the world, we will let the Eritrean government know that we are praying for the country and its leadership.
Please note that the tone of your letters must be that of compassion and love and by no means confrontational or critical. We are attempting to evoke change not aggression. In addition please do not mention Open Doors in your letter.
Sample texts may include:
On May 24, Eritrean Independence Day, I pray to God the Father for your country and for her leaders. May God give you wisdom and grace to govern your people well as you work for an independent and free society.
Today, May 24, Eritrean Independence Day, I pray that God would show mercy to the country of Eritrea. I am thankful with you for the independence you gained and keep praying for lasting peace. We pray particularly for the role of Christians as they help to build a fruitful society.
Along with many Christians around the world on April 27 I will pray for President Afewerki. He has a very responsible job to which he is accountable to God, and we pray that our Heavenly Father will graciously give Him all the wisdom that is needed to govern the Eritrean people well.
I have made a commitment to pray for your country for forty days. I pray for good relations between all Eritrean people, but in particular between the government and Christians. We pray for an opportunity for Christians belonging to the churches involved since May 2002 in a lengthy registration process with the Department Of Religious Affairs and those churches that have been closed, to positively engage with their government. We pray that it will become clear that these churches are religious organizations that exist purely for the wellbeing and unity of the Eritrean People and its government. I pray that the government will realize that the core reason these churches exist has been misunderstood.
We know that on June 20, your country is remembering the many martyrs who have died in the struggle for independence. As you remember those martyrs, we pray that God would grant Eritrea and her citizens lasting peace, freedom and independence. In particular I pray that there will be a time in Eritrea when people of all faiths may enjoy full religious freedom.
I am one of many Christians around the world praying for your country. I pray that God our Father will show mercy to the people of Eritrea by sending good rains in season so that there will be a good harvest and abundant food for your people. I pray that God will bless your country abundantly.
I have heard that family relations in Eritrea are very important. I pray that God would make the Eritrean society strong through strong families. I pray specifically for Christians to be a good example of family life that honours God. I also pray that the many Christian men and women who are in prison for their religious beliefs will be released soon, so that they can care for their families and make a positive contribution to the society.
Please mail you letters to:
Open Doors USA
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799-7001