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Two persecuted Christians in Eritrea jailed for 19 years

July 28, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Persecuted Christians in Eritrea

Pastor Kiflu Gebremeskel and Pastor Haile Nayzgi have been incarcerated for over 7,000 days now, yet neither pastor has been formally charged with a crime. As such, they have no access to a legal team that can advocate for their release … and no trial to clear their name.

Sadly, experts estimate that approximately 400 Eritrean believers find themselves in a similar scenario: trapped behind bars with no way out.

So how did this nation in northeast Africa get to this point? In 2002, the Eritrean government ordered nearly all Protestant churches to close, forcing many believers into clandestine house churches and secret meetings.

Authorities began apprehending these defiant believers—labeled “traitors” by the government—and detaining them in inhumane desert camps, underground bunkers and small shipping containers.

According to the Christian Post, most were forcibly asked, “Will you deny Christ?” But these steadfast believers maintained their commitment to Jesus amid truly horrific circumstances—ultimately bolstering the faith of other Eritrean Christians. One Eritrean pastor even remarked, “Nothing comes to us without the will of God. Through persecution … the church grows.”

Let’s ask God to do a miracle for these two pastors.

Oh Lord, we cry out to You on behalf of Pastor Kiflu and Pastor Haile. We cannot fathom the immense suffering they have endured over the last 19 years. 

God, we know You see their hurt and pain. For Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

Father, we humbly come before You and ask You to work a miracle on behalf of these two brothers in Christ. We’re reminded of Revelation 3:8. “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.” 

Father, please open the prison doors wide for Pastor Kiflu and Pastor Haile. And continue to grow Your church in Eritrea despite the opposition. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About The Author
Abigail Hart is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry whose mission it is to amplify the voices of Christian persecution and help vulnerable believers so they can spread the gospel and advance the Great Commission. You can learn more by visiting our website at

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