Executive Director John Gongwer's First-Hand Report on Nicaragua
Tomas Mackey, Elijah Brown and John Gongwer outside of CBN gathering in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua has been labeled a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom and the U.S. State Department. From January 4-10, 21Wilberforce’s Executive Director John Gongwer traveled with BWA President Tomas Mackey (Argentina) and BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown to Nicaragua to attend the annual national Baptist Convention — Convención Bautista de Nicaragua (CBN). What follows is Gongwer's first-hand account of the trip.
We welcomed the invitation of the CBN leadership to visit their country and learn first-hand about the growing religious and political repression in the country and how Baptists and other faith communities are being affected. In addition to participating in the two-day national Baptist convention, we met with Baptist leaders from around the country, visited and spoke with leaders and staff of NBC sponsored schools, their seminary, hospital, radio station, and retirement home. We also spoke with knowledgeable Baptist pastors throughout the country, including indigenous Miskito pastors of churches from the English-based creole language-speaking regions along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Read morehere.
21Wilberforce Advocacy and Training Coordinator Met with Mayflower Church Members in Thailand
In early January Trent Martin, Advocacy and Training Coordinator for 21Wilberforce, met with Mayflower Church members in Thailand. Below Trent shares his experience during that visit, what lies ahead for Mayflower Church members and how you can help.
I had the opportunity to join with members of the Mayflower Church for a moving Sunday morning worship service. Pastor Pan Yongguang and several members of the church extended a warm welcome. As the congregation joyfully sang Chinese hymns and recited scripture, I could feel the conviction in their faith that had brought them on this journey. Pastor Pan shared a sermon on maintaining our faith and joy in the midst of trials and suffering. While I had heard these verses many times before, it was exponentially more impactful to hear them spoken in a community suffering for their faith. Read morehere.
Meet Dr. Dawari George: 21Wilberforce's Africa Ambassador
21Wilberforce seeks to mobilize and equip global faith communities and networks to engage in protecting religious freedom and defending the persecuted. In 2020, 21Wilberforce entered into a strategic partnership with a global denominational network to test and develop a mobilization and support program that can be replicated for other denominations and faith groups.
Central to this program are regional representative Ambassadors and action teams that can work with regional denominations, organizations, and churches in helping identify and meet the needs of churches and members facing religious restrictions or persecution.
Here is an excerpt of a recent conversation with Dr. George about his vision for advancing religious freedom in Africa as he serves as the Africa Ambassador for 21Wilberforce.
Dawari: The son of a Baptist clergyman, I am a political economist with a doctorate degree in Political and Administrative Studies (Development Studies). My background is a wide-ranging career in development, government, academia, and church leadership. Relevant to the denominational partnership that 21Wilberforce has with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), I serve as the head of Baptist World Alliance Men. Read morehere.
21Wilberforce Welcomes Associates Ngai, Sharma and Young
Associates are an integral part of the 21Wilberforce team. Our internships include assisting with research, writing, advocacy, and programming support. Associates are also likely to attend congressional hearings, think-tank briefings or other events as the eyes and ears of this organization. The Winter 2023 Associates for Advocacy, Policy and Capacity Building all share a passion to learn more about the intersection of human rights and freedom of religion or belief. Read moreabout Dim Sian Ngai, Sanjana Sharma and Josh Younghere.
World Watch List 2023 Just Released
Open Doors’ mission is to ensure that persecuted Christians do not suffer alone – but are connected to the worldwide church for support and encouragement.
Since 1993, the World Watch List has revealed the scale and severity of the persecution of Christians. In the last 30 years, the number of countries where Christians suffer high and extreme levels of persecution has almost doubled to 76 countries.
Today, more than 360M Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith. In Open Doors’ World Watch List top 50 alone, 312m Christians face very high or extreme levels. Explore the profiles for each country to find in-depth information about their situation, believers' stories, and specific prayer requests. Learn more here.
IRF Summit 2023 will be held January 31- February 1 in Washington, DC. Visit their site for a schedule of events and to watch live stream of main sessions. Learn morehere.
Ms. Dabrina Bet-Tamraz, a Protestant from the Assyrian ethnic minority in Iran, who is now living in Switzerland recently testified about the persecution of Christians in Iran, through the example of her own family. Read morehere.