Eritrea is one of the worst countries in the world to be a Christian. Many Christians cannot worship in public and are arrested, beaten, tortured and forced into labour because of their faith. Have a read of the story below from an amazing woman called Birikti* who, despite being imprisoned for six years and pressured to renounce her beliefs, remained faithful to God.
“I was raised in a devout Christian family. While I was in college nine years ago, a large group of students refused to participate in an Independence Day celebration. The government officers began harassing those of us who had confessed to being Evangelicals to abandon our faith. After trying unsuccessfully, they took us to prison.
“The room in which we were held was far too small to accommodate all 56 of us. We were so tightly crammed that we could not sit properly, let alone lie down to sleep.
“Family members who frequently visited, cried and begged us to abandon our faith. Some even threatened to commit suicide if we did not give in. Those who did give in to the heavy pressure signed the recantation letter and were released. Those of us who refused, held on to God and continued worshipping and praising Him.
Those of us who refused, held on to God and continued worshipping and praising Him.
“We were forced to work long hours without rest. My immediate commander was especially cruel, but I was encouraged after I had a dream in which I saw myself fighting with and defeating a very strong man. I wondered how I had managed to defeat him. A few days later my persecution started again. I was accused of refusing to stop preaching and as punishment was thrown into a cell full of men. I cried out to God to intervene.
“Soon after, we were ordered to pack our belongings and were forced to walk more than 35 miles to another military camp. God helped me and I completed the journey without pain or weakness. There, we were assigned various duties such as washing clothes and serving coffee.
“We remained there for a number of years before again being asked to sign the recantation paper. We declined saying that it was a sin. After serving another three years we were finally released. Altogether we spent six years and four months in prison. May the Name of the Lord be glorified!
*Name changed for security reasons
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