connect and encourage: write to people who suffer for their beliefs
Write to Rev Juan Carlos Núñez Velázquez, Cuba
Rev Juan Carlos Núñez Velázquez is a church leader in Cuba. On Friday 21 October he was sentenced to one year of house arrest for creating a noise nuisance – the most severe punishment possible for that offence. It’s all because he's been having to hold church services on the patio outside his home ever since his church was demolished in January.
You can write to him today to show him that there are people all over the world thinking of him and his congregation.
Like many church leaders in Cuba, Rev Núñez Velázquez has been repeatedly harassed by the police. In September two policemen came to his house to investigate noise complaints from services he was holding there. Rev Núñez Velázquez’s sound system wasn’t even taken away for testing. Instead, the police started criminal proceedings against him, leading to the trial in October.
He’s appealed the verdict, but he’s still awaiting the outcome. In the meantime, he desperately needs your messages of hope and support. Please write to Rev Núñez Velázquez at:
Calle Maceo # 20,
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"I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me cards. We’ve received over 200 cards from CSW supporters. I’m so touched and it was overwhelming for me.” Michelle Chaudhry, Pakistan
When you write to someone who’s suffering because of their beliefs, it gives them incredible encouragement – but it’s so much more than that.
- It can get better conditions for prisoners;
- It gives you an easy way to connect directly with people you’re praying for;
- It’s a great opportunity to spur one another on to doing something practical about injustice.
Got any more questions about how to use Connect & Encourage? Just read our FAQs!
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Let Michelle in Pakistan know you’re thinking of her…
Michelle Chaudhry is part of a pioneering foundation in Pakistan which campaigns tirelessly for the rights of Christians and other religious minorities. The Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, set up in memory of her parents, is working to build peace and harmony in communities torn apart by violence, and to ensure that despite the difficult atmosphere, Christian and Muslim children don’t grow up hating each other.
As hate speech becomes more and more common in Pakistan, building distrust and stoking violence between religious communities, the work Michelle and her team do can feel like an uphill struggle. They would be absolutely delighted to hear from you!
Write to them at:
Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation
16C/1-A, Gulberg II,
“I’m not convinced my card will make a difference to the person who receives it.”
Yes, it really will!
Gloria from Cuba told us, “Sometimes I ran out of the strength to pray myself. In the darkest moments, when we felt totally hopeless, alone and desperate and we couldn’t even pray for ourselves, it was alright because we knew there were people all over holding us up in prayer, when we ourselves could not.”
Imagine thinking you’re facing a horrific situation all alone. Maybe your husband is a church leader who was shot dead after he refused to stop preaching. That’s what happened to Gloria’s husband. Or maybe you’ve been imprisoned because of your faith – and then you get a card from a person on the other side of the world who’s thinking about you. Your cards could be a lifeline in someone’s darkest moments, just like they were for Gloria.
“OK, that’s great, but it won’t really help their situation, will it?”
Yes, it will!
We’ve seen many times that a prisoner’s conditions improve once they start getting post from abroad. They’ve received extra food, more exercise, and much-needed medical care – as a direct result of your cards and letters. What’s more, Pastor Truong in Vietnam was able to share his faith with his prison guards after they asked him why he was getting so many cards!
If a prisoner receives lots of post from abroad, the prison authorities know that people outside the country have heard about this prisoner’s case, so they can’t get away with mistreating the prisoner.
“But I don’t know what to write.”
We’ve made it easy for you! Here are some guidelines.
- Just write a little bit about yourself – where you live, what the area is like, your family, your hobbies, and so on.
- Most of the people in Connect & Encourage are Christians, so you could write an encouraging Bible verse in the card, and some Christian greetings such as ‘God bless you’ and ‘May the Lord be with you’.
- Even if the person who gets your card can’t read English, receiving it will still encourage them by reminding them that they’re not forgotten.
- Writing relevant Bible references is useful for non-English speakers so they can look up the verses in their own language.
- If you’re happy to receive a reply, it’s safe to include your name and address on the cards. Many people have developed rewarding relationships in this way, by writing to and hearing from people who suffer because of their faith.
You’ll find answers to a few more questions you may have, inside Connect & Encourage. Download it today and get it writing!