Area: 121,100 sq km
Arid, temperate highland plateau and a strategic desert plain along the busy Red Sea Coast shipping lanes.
Population: 5,223,994 Annual Growth: 3.15%
Official language: Tigrinya. Tigre, Arabic and English (especially for secondary and tertiary education) also widely used Languages: 18 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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The growth of the Church in Eritrea is strong, despite steadily intensifying government oppression. Persecution and restraints on personal freedoms test believers sorely. But the closure of most denominations and ministries has prompted the flowering of a hard-pressed but growing house church movement. There are growing renewal movements in the mainline churches: Medhaniel Alem (Orthodox) and Tebadasso (Catholic). Many in prison or en route to refugee camps in another country have received the gospel of Jesus Christ in their time of trial, including some from the less-reached people groups of Eritrea.
Religious freedom remains a major issue. A 2002 government ruling banned all religious groups from meeting together and practicing their faith without official recognition, and it granted recognition only to Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran groups. The effects of this on all Eritreans are significant, especially so on Christians within non-approved groups. Some posit this as a reaction against the evangelical growth within the Orthodox Church and during the long war with Ethiopia. Pray for government acceptance of religious groups and for restoration of basic human rights and religious freedom to all Eritreans.
For an additional 5 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Eritrea.