Dec. 07, 2012 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States….ANN staff
Seventh-day Adventist human rights advocates are encouraging church members worldwide to send Christmas cards to two Adventists imprisoned in the West African country of Togo.
The card-writing campaign is the latest step in efforts by the Adventist Church to secure the two men’s release. Adventist pastor Antonio Monteiro and church member Bruno Amah were detained in March for conspiracy to commit murder after a Togolese man implicated them as conspirators in an alleged blood trafficking network.
Since then, millions of Adventists worldwide have rallied their support for the two men by responding to a social media campaign calling for a Day of Prayer for their release. Facebook followers interacted with Pray for Togo content more than 50,000 times, while the event hashtag reached more than 7 million Twitter users.
Meanwhile, nearly 15,000 people signed an online pledge at change.org, where they committed to participating in the December 1 Day of Prayer.
Now, church leaders hope the Christmas cards encourage the two men as they spend the holiday season in prison awaiting release.
“We would like cards to come from as many countries as possible,” said John Graz, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the Adventist world church. Graz is leading diplomatic efforts to release the men, which is being conducted alongside the public awareness campaign.
“Imagine the surprise of our brothers when hundreds or thousands of cards are brought to them in the prison,” Graz said. “This will certainly brighten their Christmas.”
Monteiro, a native of Cape Verde, has served as the church’s Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director for the Sahal Union Mission, headquartered in Lome, Togo, since 2009. Amah is an Adventist lay member and businessman in Lome.
Church leaders are requesting that members send their greetings to Monteiro’s office at regional church headquarters in Lome, Togo.
Pasteur Antonio dos Anjos Monteiro
Union du Sahal
Church leaders said Monteiro and Amah will best understand cards written in English and French.
Dear Pastor Monteiro and Brother Amah,
Both of you and your families are in our thoughts and prayers during this Christmas season. We pray God and our Lord Jesus will protect you and give you peace and freedom.
Name … country
Cher Pasteur Monteiro et cher frère Bruno Amah,
Par cette carte nous voulons vous exprimer toute notre affection fraternelle. Vous êtes dans nos pensées et prières durant cette période de Noel.
Que notre Seigneur de paix et de Liberté vous donne la paix et la liberté.
Nom … Eglise …