Situated between Sudan and Yemen, Eritrea is immersed in a radius notoriously hostile to Christians. In fact, the country ranks 10th on the World Watch List of Christian persecution.
Protestant Christians in Eritrea attend every church service knowing it may be their last. If caught worshipping apart from a government sanctioned church, individuals are subject to arrest and are frequently imprisoned and forced to suffer through inhumane conditions.
In August, 39 Eritrean high school students—11 of them girls—were detained and excluded from their graduation ceremony for claiming the name of Christ. Instead of returning home after completing required military training, the teenagers were arrested and held as public examples.
Their imprisonments included days of beatings, hard labor, inadequate supplies of food and water, and threats. They were told to deny their faith or face long-term prison sentences.
Most recently, a nationwide initiative to remove disloyal influences have spurred radical targeting of believers. Accounts of extreme persecution in Eritrea have shot up in the past several years. Some 3,000 Christians are estimated to have been imprisoned in 2010.
Reports of these Christians being held in unventilated shipping containers and underground cells have shocked the international community. Tales of torture, starvation, and escapes thwarted by death are emerging by the day.
Two weeks ago, the news of a capsized immigrant boat traveling from Libya to Europe grabbed headlines. Of the 500 people aboard, only 155 were rescued. An estimated 90 percent of those on the boat were Christians fleeing Eritrea and Somalia.
Did you know 100,000 people die every year for choosing to follow Christ? Tragically, their stories of faithfulness will never appear in popular media outlets. Christians around the world are suffering with little support . . . yet they are refusing to back down.
For the sake of these individuals, World Help invites you to join us on November 3 for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
Visit worldhelp.net/prayer to learn more about the global persecution of the body of Christ. We encourage you to take advantage of our free bulletin insert. This half-page sheet is packed with information and is a great resource to share with your church.
In the next three weeks, please be in prayer for the Christians of Eritrea and the international family of Christ currently experiencing religious oppression. Prayer is the most powerful form of advocacy we can give for our brothers and sisters. And God is waiting to answer our prayers on their behalf.
As you pray, consider giving the gift of a Bible to persecuted believers around the world. For only $5, we can provide one of the greatest sources of comfort for a believer—God’s very Word.
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer.