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Friday, November 12, 2010

Pray for the Saints: Eritrea

Today I want to share with you two saints that are in dire need of our prayers in Eritrea.  These men have both been in prison for over 2000 days.  Please pray for them, their families, and others in their country.  Also please consider writing letters of encouragement to our brothers and sisters in chains.

Featured Prisoner - Haile Nayzgi

  • Location: Eritrea
  • Arrested: May 2004
  • Days Imprisoned: 2364    
During the early morning hours of May 23, 2004, Haile Nayzgi was arrested and taken to Police Station #1 in Asmara. He was the leader of Eritrea’s Full Gospel Church, which is comprised of 120 to 150 house meeting groups. The church groups were closed by government decree at a meeting with a government official on May 15, 2003. At that time the church groups were given an application form for government registration. The Full Gospel Church filled out the form and returned it to the appropriate offices, but no reply was ever received.

Haile is married and has four children. He was previously an accountant with World Evangelical Alliance. During his incarceration Haile has been refused any personal contact with his family. When family and friends went to take food and clothing to the prison for Haile on August 24, 2004, they were told that he was no longer there. Mr. Nayzgi has been moved to various locations since his arrest, but the actual charges against him have not been released.

Featured Prisoner - Kidane Weldou

  • Location: Eritrea
  • Arrested: March 2005
  • Days Imprisoned: 2065    
Pastor Kidane Weldou disappeared and is presumably detained by Eritrean security forces. His vehicle was found abandoned in downtown Asmara. He is a senior pastor of the Full Gospel Church and has been a leader in the church for many years. Weldou is married and has four daughters. For many days his family was unable to learn his whereabouts. Other pastors arrested from this church and still being held include Haile Nayzgi. Pastor Weldou is also a member of the executive committee of Gideons International in Eritrea.
Almost 2000 Christians are being held in prisons and military camps in Eritrea. A few were released after signing a pledge to stop attending religious services. The Eritrean government began forcibly closing evangelical Protestant churches in 2002. They have not allowed any of the independent Protestant churches to register and reopen since, even though 11 have applied for this official registration. Along with Islam, there are only three Christian churches authorized to worship by the government. These include Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran churches. However, Orthodox Christians have also been arrested. On February 19th, a group of Sunday school teachers and students were arrested and detained by police after a raid on the Medhane Alem Orthodox Church in Asmara. They were later released. According to Compass Direct, the pastors of the banned Protestant churches were reportedly ordered not to inform anyone outside Eritrea of their problems. However, these pastors rejected this advice and reported what was happening to the outside world. Some of those arrested are held in metal shipping containers.
Remember Sunday, November 14th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church!

Information provided by The Voice of the Martyrs Be A Voice network.

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