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September 25, 2018

Wilberforce A!ert: Defending freedom of belief − A leading challenge of our time

In the past four years, the team from 21Wilberforce has:

Traveled to Hong Kong to participate in training 1,800 house church pastors;

Traveled to Ethiopia twice to participate in training government and faith leaders;

Traveled to Lebanon to train and encourage Syrian pastors on rebuilding their congregations;

Traveled to Iraq twice to document persecution of Christians and religious minorities who suffered at the hands of ISIS; and

Traveled to Nigeria twice to document persecution of Christians and Muslims by Boko Haram and Fulani herder militants.

We have interviewed Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities who have been driven from their homes and are still living in deplorable conditions with little or no hope of returning to their lands.  We have seen families crowded together, living in unventilated containers, adults who are now jobless, and children who no longer have schools.  We heard a mother describe having her child ripped from her lap by ISIS, two Yezidi girls tell of the atrocities committed against them during their captivity by ISIS, and five Nigerian girls describe the horrors they endured after being kidnapped by Boko Haram.  We have interviewed house church pastors from China who speak of persecution that is worse than any time since the Cultural Revolution.

We are deeply disturbed by these and all the stories we hear during our travels about people who have been harassed, dragged from their homes and put in jail, churches that have been destroyed and families that have been displaced and even killed because of their faith. This inhuman cruelty isn’t limited to Iraq or Nigeria or China. Around the world, up to 83% of people are experiencing some form of religious persecution, from marginalization and discrimination and harassment to death.

Collectively, more people are religiously persecuted than any time in history. Despite the growing need, few tangible resources or assistance actually reaches the vast majority of people suffering for their faith. Western faith-based networks, with millions of followers, are potential grassroots powerhouses for the support needed globally by religiously persecuted communities. People want to help, yet they are often uncertain where to start. There is no single "go-to" place dedicated to training people of faith to defend other people of faith.

In response to this challenge, 21Wilberforce is launching an innovative online platform called the Speak Freedom Center. It is designed to provide an easy way to engage by providing international religious freedom resources, advocacy training, campaign creation, and crowd-funding for persecuted communities and imprisoned believers worldwide.

We rely on the generosity of individuals like you to fund completion of the Speak Freedom Center. 21Wilberforce receives 100% of our financial support from compassionate people of faith, family foundations and churches.

The fiscal year for 21Wilberforce ends September 30th. This will conclude our Hope 1:8 campaign - Acts 1:8 which, compels us to share compassion for those who are oppressed. Please help us by donating as much as you can today.

Randel Everett, President

Take Action:

1.  Donate to our Hope 1:8 campaign online at www.21wilberforce.org/give

2.  Request more information about the Speak Freedom Center at info@21wilberforce.org

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Randel Everett

Pastor Randel Everett is President and Founder of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. He spent four decades pastoring churches in Florida, Virginia, Arkansas, and Texas. He founded The John Leland Center for Theological Studies, led the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and currently serves in leadership for the Baptist World Alliance. Throughout his career, he has traveled to nearly 50 countries and seen persecution first-hand.

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21Wilberforce is empowering a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right through advocacy, technology and equipping.