Leah Sharibu was 14 when kidnapped in February 2018 by terrorists in Nigeria. Now 16, Leah remains a “slave for life” for refusing to renounce her faith in Jesus.
Leah’s mother, Rebecca, lives a nightmare few can imagine. Abandoned by her government, she prays the terrorists of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) will release her daughter.
Rebecca, having never left Nigeria, came to Washington, D.C., seeking help from Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) in pleading for assistance from the Trump administration—and anyone else who would listen.
Rebecca’s shattered countenance conveyed unceasing torment. Meeting Rebecca “feels like a punch in the gut,” wrote CBN anchor John Jessup in a Facebook post after an interview arranged by STPC.
“Staring into the face of an expressionless mother, who carries a burden no parent should bear, and then watching the grief surface through her agonizing tears is haunting and powerful and convicting and inspiring all at once,” Jessup wrote.
The Sharibus’ story helps Americans understand the terror at least 300 million Christians endure as anti-Christian violence engulfs the globe like a plague. STPC seeks to end the suffering by raising awareness and holding accountable the persecutors and their enablers.
Frank Gaffney, President of Save the Persecuted Christians, looks on as Dr. Gloria Puldu, President of the Leah Foundation, translates for Rebecca Sharibu at the International Religious Freedom Roundtable in Washington, D.C. with the Adara Chiefdom daughters, Alheri Bawa Magaji and Mercy Maismari.
Credit: Dede Laugesen
Save the Persecuted Christians teamed with our coalition partners, the Interntional Committee on Nigeria, The Leah Foundation, The Nazarene Fund and Mission Africa International, to bring Rebecca and six other Nigerians to the United States. The delegation’s three-week visit included meetings, talks and media events in D.C. and Dallas that exposed little-known atrocities in Nigera and the neighboring Lake Chad region.
The visiting Nigeria Crisis Delegation garnered coverage by Fox News, EWTN, CBN, The Christian Post, Glenn Beck and other national media. STPC’s Facebook livestream featuring Rebecca’s story, filmed outside the White House, has been viewed over 15,000 times.
Former Congressman Frank Wolf, an STPC Advisory Board member who authored the International Religious Freedom Act, joined the Nigerians in meetings with government officials, including: Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom; Rep. Gus Bilirakis, co-chair of the House International Religious Freedom Caucus; several other members of Congress and their aides; members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the office of Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump’s Global Initiatives for Women; the Director for the Africa Desk at the National Security Council; and Vice President Mike Pence’s office joined by presidential advisors on Homeland Security, Counterterrorism and Africa.
As a direct result of the meetings, Vice President Pence summoned Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo for a June 26 “come-to-Jesus” meeting at the White House. We understand notice was served of the U.S. government’s grave concern for Nigerian Christians.
Rep. Bilirakis adopted the cause of Leah as a prisoner of conscience. So did the newly elected Chairman of USCIRF, Tony Perkins. The State Department has sent investigators to Nigeria to investigate the attacks on the mostly Christian Adara tribe earlier this year. USAID Administrator Mark Green is visiting Nigeria in August when a U.N. rapporteur will also be in the country to gather facts on incessant kidnappings and killings.
The meetings and breakthroughs comforted our visitors, who risked their lives to speak truth to American power that they may reverse media indifference, while countering the deceptive propaganda of Nigerian officials and their U.S. agency sympathizers.
Washington has perhaps a final opportunity to avert disaster in Nigeria, regional destabilization, and another caliphate-driven refugee crisis that could reach Europe, the United States and beyond. The murderous attacks may escalate into a Rwanda-scale genocide. We hope our fellow Americans will join us in holding such persecutors accountable for their crimes against humanity. As a coalition, we are pressing for the appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
American Christians should be moved to action by stories like Leah, who when confronted with terrorists, chose faith over freedom. Similar problems persist in a growing number of countries. Save the Persecuted Christian’s traveling exhibits, The People of the Cross and Warfare on Women, document these barbarous acts that target, demean, degrade and kill Christians for worshipping Christ. They have been seen by more than 50,000 people in different venues including the Kansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts state houses. Please contact us about bringing speakers and exhibits to your area.
Save the Persecuted Christians also invites the public to join the “SaveUs Movement” as we build momentum—and a voice—for the world’s persecuted Christians. We give thanks for those who join and contribute at our website: SaveThePersecutedChristians.org, thereby helping us advocate for Christians like Rebecca and Leah.