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With Them in Prison

Hebrews 13:3 implores us to remember Christians imprisoned for Christ’s sake as though we were in prison with them.

This kind of remembrance engages our imaginations, requiring us to think of ourselves as being in their cells. But it is a difficult task because it is neither natural nor normal for us to do such a thing. We have no inclination to imagine ourselves locked away from sunlight and fresh air, tortured and abused, with meagre rations and no privacy — tempted to despair and with no idea when or if the imprisonment will end.

This month marks 20 years since the arrests of two of our Eritrean Christian family members, Kiflu Gebremeskel and Haile Nayzgi. After two decades of imprisonment for Christ’s sake, neither they nor their family members have any idea when or if they will be released. As you contemplate their plight, I know that you will feel sometimes angry or sorrowful. When I think of them, I become overwhelmed and can only pray until the Lord turns my frustration into tears. Though difficult, bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15) are the only ways we can walk out the reality of Christ’s prayer that all those who believe on His name will come to complete unity (John 17:20–23). Entering into their suffering is what it means for us to be with them, part of God’s eternal family.

God tells us, through His Word, to remember the sufferings of our Christian brothers and sisters, but thankfully we are not left to do it alone. Along with imprisoned Christians, we are the sons and daughters of a heavenly Father who entreats us to bring our troubles to Him. And when we do, He performs a miracle in our hearts and minds by enabling us to walk in faith with His peace in our hearts, free from worry, doubt and fear.

In this month's newsletter, you will read the story of another long-term prisoner of faith in Eritrea, Twen Theodros. Twen was released on the morning of 12 September 2020. One of our previous newsletters featured stories of those imprisoned for their faith. When we shared about Twen for that issue, we had no idea that after 16 years in prison, she would be released because Christians around the world would pray for her.

In light of Twen’s experience, may God use this story and your prayers to effect the release of Kiflu and Haile. We have no idea how or when God will move to release His prisoners of faith; He alone is sovereign over such things (Proverbs 21:1) and His ways are higher than ours. We, His children, must walk

in faith and simple obedience. Let us do this together.

Will you join us in prayer for Kiflu and Haile as we “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them”?

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