Are you joining us online for the launch of the 2021 World Watch List on Wednesday 13 January? Here you can read about the courageous Christians who will be sharing their stories with MPs – and you – on the day.
On Wednesday 13 January, you will be able to gather (online) with MPs to watch the 2021 World Watch List launch. We have some amazing speakers lined up who will be sharing their stories of persecution, and how MPs can make real, tangible change for our persecuted church family.
Amina from Nigeria will share about how Covid-19 makes existing religious persecution even worse. Her husband was killed by Boko Haram and, five years later, she was kidnapped and held hostage for eight months. Now, local authorities often prevent her and other Nigerian believers from getting essential food and aid. And despite lockdown restrictions, attacks have also continued on households staying at home to avoid spreading the virus.
Open Doors partner Father Daniel, from Erbil, Iraq, will be at the launch to share his story with MPs, including his support for many internally displaced Christians who fled the Nineveh Plains when so-called Islamic State invaded.
“Because of the persecution, many Christians left Iraq,” he says. “The church is at risk of disappearing.”
But Father Daniel has witnessed extraordinary faith in those who remain: “I observe a deepening of faith in the Christians here. It’s mesmerising to hear the stories of my parishioners’ lives with God.”
And he is so grateful for your support: “You help us to go through the dark times. You are like a light, an encouragement to us, to not give up in this journey. It’s impossible to mention all the things that we’ve done with the help of our supporters; it is too much.”
You will be encouraged to know that religious persecution remains a pressing and important issue for MPs. In a recent Prime Minister’s Questions, Fiona Bruce (MP for Congleton, and now the Prime Minister’s new Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief) spoke about ‘the persecution suffered by countless people of faith across the world’ and asked for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to support ‘our church leaders’ call for prayer and in championing the universal human right of religion or belief wherever one lives’.
Johnson replied: “We all know that wherever freedom of belief is under attack, other human rights are under attack as well. We will continue to work closely with like-minded partners to stand up for members of such marginalised communities.”
The World Watch List launch is a crucial opportunity for MPs to stand up for these persecuted believers – and for you to raise awareness with those in power. It is vital that we call on the UK government to work with local faith leaders and implement mechanisms that protect persecuted Christians on the frontline.
Sovereign Lord, please give wisdom and insight to our MPs and other decision makers. Show them how they can serve Your people around the world, standing against religious persecution and ensuring mechanisms are in place to combat it. We ask Your blessing on the World Watch List launch – that many will attend, many will hear and many will act. Amen.
It's not too late! If you haven't yet, please ask your MP to attend the World Watch List launch on 13 January 2021. It's a crucial opportunity for decision makers to hear first-hand from the persecuted church - you can make a real difference by getting in touch.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.