Persecution Update, December 2017: ERITREA

The tiny country of Eritrea ranks as the world’s tenth-harshest persecutor of Christians. Dire economic conditions and government oppression have earned that nation the title, “North Korea of Africa,” and its citizens have been fleeing the country for years. Eritrea’s official religions are Sunni Islam and three government-approved Christian denominations—Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran.  Independent congregations are illegal, and evangelical Christians—who number slightly more than 100,000—are suffering.  In 2017, more than 200 evangelical Christians were arrested—including mothers taken away from their small children. These believers endure barbaric conditions in concentration camps, where they are being housed in crowded metal shipping containers with no ventilation in extreme heat. Fikadu Debesay, a young mother of three, died in August while interned in a desert camp. Some believers have spent more than ten years in the concentration camps. Yet, “God is working mightily; the church is growing,” said an Eritrean church elder.  Pray for sustaining grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Eritrea who suffer for the Gospel’s sake.

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