Religious persecution has become greater and greater as the years have passed. Now with the Trump Administration in office great strides have been made not only in the United States but in the world to help end religious persecution. This includes people that were in captivity because of their faith, being released. Others are still seeking freedom for their families and people. We join President Donald Trump and survivors of religious persecution in the Oval Office at the White House.
“We have a very important group of people standing alongside of me. I’m honored to welcome Pastor Andrew Brunson and other survivors of religious persecution to the White House. We’re grateful to be joined by Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback — a former governor, as you know; as well as Pastor Paula White — a tremendous religious leader and a friend of the White House, a friend of the presidency, and a friend of the President.
“With us today are men and women of many different religious traditions from many different countries. But what you have in common is each of you has suffered tremendously for your faith. You’ve endured harassment, threats, attacks, trials, imprisonment, and torture. I got to know many of you and helped you get some — get some of you out of the difficult situation that you were in. I’m very proud of you in the way you’ve reacted to a different life. It is a tremendous thing. Your families are very proud, and our country is very proud, and your countries are very proud — for those of you that aren’t from the United States. Each of you has now become a witness to the importance of advancing religious liberty all around the world. It’s about religious liberty.
“Last year, my administration hosted the world’s first-ever meeting of foreign ministers devoted solely to the subject of international religious freedom. I want to thank all of you for joining us as we host this meeting for the second year in a row. A lot of individual breakout meetings are being had, and we’re getting a lot of ideas as to how we can help. In America, we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government. In our Bill of Rights, the first liberty is religious liberty. Each of us has the right to follow the dictates of our conscience and the demands of our religious conviction. We know that if people are not free to practice their faith, then all of the freedoms are at risk and, frankly, freedoms don’t mean very much. That’s why Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote religious freedom. I don’t think any President has taken it as seriously as me. To me, it’s very important…And I just want to thank everybody very much for being with us today. You’ve been through a lot. And I think I can say it for everyone here: You’ve been through a lot — more than most people could ever endure. And I want to congratulate you because that’s what you need, is congratulations. It’s really an honor to be with you, and I will stand side by side with you forever.”
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback shares next at the gathering. “Thank you and your administration for your leadership on this. Last year was the first; this year is the largest meeting ever held in the world on religious freedom…And with you here today, we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, who was taken by ISIS…then we have helped — this government has — in rebuilding Northern Iraq, the Yazidi and the Christian area…”
Mariam Ibraheem was in attendance. A Sudanese Christian formerly imprisoned for her faith in Jesus Christ. When she was in prison, she gave birth to her child while she was in chains! We fasted and prayed for her to be released and God heard our prayers. As she spoke briefly at the White House, she said that her and her family are doing well.
Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, President of the Kachin Baptist Convention from Northern Burma spoke next. “I’m from Baptist Convention from Northern Burma. And then, as Christians in Myanmar, we are very been oppressed and tortured by the Myanmar military government. So — and then we don’t have chance, many, for religious freedom. And also, ethnic armed groups fight against to the central military government. So, please, American government focus on ethnic people and the ethnic leader to get general democracy and federalism. It is very important for your help and for your support. And then thank you very much for your sanction yesterday. It was very helpful.”
Ambassador Brownback shares that the job he now holds is one of the most important jobs he has ever had as he is helping billions of people! He was previously a congressman, senator and governor. “These folks here represent the faiths of billions of people around the world. And the United States is the main country — not the only; and many other allies are coming along — but we’re the main country to stand up and fight for their religious freedom. And we’re not picking a winner or loser. We’re just saying, look, you’ve got — governments have to protect this right. And that’s why, to me, this job and what this administration is doing to protect it affects billions of people. And I’m — I think it’s incredible. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
Ms. Nyima Lhamo reportedly escaped from Tibet to tell others about China’s rule in Tibet. “I’m from Tibet. It’s my dream to visit — this opportunity to visit the President. Tibetan need support, please. We need support…thank you so much for this opportunity to gather and share the story. Thank you.”
Ms. Zhang from China shares next about her experience is China. “I’m a Falun Gong practitioner. My husband, now, is still in prison. And the forced organ harvesting still exists. So, we should take action…so how to do this action in the Chinese communist regime. Now my husband in Province of Jiangsu and Suzhou prison. And, you know, 2018 one of our practitioners, after three years in prison, he was released home. And in just one day, he died…And you know the regime, what they do.”
Pastor Paula White-Cain spoke next expressing her thanks to President Trump. ” Mr. President, it’s such an honor. And I just have to say, on behalf of you and your courageous leadership — I have watched, from day one and even before you took this office, you be a relentless fighter for people of all faiths and religious liberty. We see it on stateside — from you saying we can say “Merry Christmas” again; to the DOJ passing laws that no other administration could pass to give high holy days to all religions to be able to take off of work and to honor that; to, as the Ambassador said, this is the second but the largest in the world gathering for religious liberty freedom.
“You have taken a bold, courageous stand that many governments have moved. You have over 16 countries represented here. You have approximately 27 people. But I was in the room yesterday with thousands, and we had thousands that could not get in. So, we thank you, President, for being the leader — the courageous leader to stand up not only in our nation, but countries all around, for all faith, of all people that we should have the practice and the right to practice our religion.”
Mr. Farid Ahmed, whose wife was killed in the New Zealand, Christchurch attack in March of 2019, talks next. “Mr. President, thank you from New Zealand. Thank you for your leadership, standing up for humanity, standing up for religious groups and their rights. And thank you — thank you for supporting us in the 15 March tragedy in Christ church. And God bless you. And God bless the United States.”
Ms. Saha from Bangladesh shares the tragic events that she has faced in her country. “Sir, thank you. Sir, I am from Bangladesh. And here is 37 million, the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christianity. Please help us, the Bangladesh people. We want to stay in our country. Still, there is 18 million minority people. My request is: Please help us. We don’t want to leave our country. Just help, Mr. President. I have lost my home. They (Muslim fundamentalist group) burned my home. They’ve taken my land. But no adjustment has taken place.”
Ms. Ilham from China talks of the concentration camps in China. “Mr. President, one to three million Uyghur population are locked up in concentration camps in China, including my father, who is now serving a life sentence. I haven’t seen him since 2013…he has been in jail for five years, and we don’t know how long he will still be in there. I haven’t heard about him since 2017, because that’s when the concentration camps started. Anyone who goes to ask about anybody’s family members’ news will never make their way back to their own homes.”
Reverend Mario Barroso from Cuba reminds us of the leadership struggle in his country. “President, I am Pastor Mario from Cuba. A blessing. One Pastor, Ramón Rigal, and his wife are imprisoned in Cuba. Please pray for them and help the people in Cuba. Five pastors…invited for this event in Cuba are not here because the government in Cuba no permission for today. I am here because I am refugee in United States. Thank you for your hospitality for me.” President Trump asked him about the new leader and how things are in Cuba. “No, it’s not real. Castro continuing the power because Castro is the first secretary to the party — the communist party. And the new President is not really. Castro is the real leader continuing on.”
Ilyong Ju from North Korea shares about the tragedy that Christians face in her country. Her cousin’s family was executed because they shared the Gospel. Even though the North Korean’s face persecution for their faith they are still worshiping God in underground churches.
Nadia Murad a Yazidi from Iraq who was a captive of ISIS. “I’m from Iraq and I cannot see my family…after 2003, we started to disappear from our area, from our homeland. And then when ISIS attack us in 2014, they killed six of my brother. They killed my mom. They took me to captivity with my eleven sister-in-law, with all my sister and my nieces. And today we have 3,000 Yazidi women and children in captivity. So, although they said ISIS is defeated, but where is those 3,000 Yazidi? And our home is destroyed. We come to here, we go to Europe, we go to Arab country that ISIS did this. Everyone saw that… They killed them (her family). They are in the mass graves in Sinjar. And I’m still fighting just to live in safe. Please do something. And it’s not about one family —It’s about half million. It’s about the whole community…”
There were many others from other nations who shared briefly of the persecution they and their families are facing and ask for help! We must pray for the persecuted Church as they are our brothers and sisters in the Lord. At VFNKB we pray for them and want you to join us. Have you been persecuted for your faith? We want to hear from you. Write to us at Friends@VFNKB.com. Greg shared in this segment.
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