Shirley and Joyce Porto were born in Brazil. Their parents instilled the importance of Christian faith and education as a means to escape poverty. The twins faced difficulties and prejudices in their country, but that did not stop them.
Although Shirley and Joyce spoke several languages, their English was poor and they viewed this as hindrance to their careers. They came to the United States to study English. Soon thereafter, they enrolled in Dallas Baptist University to pursue Masters degrees in International Studies and Global Leadership.
In the spring of 2017, Shirley and Joyce joined a group of DBU students that came to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 21Wilberforce Emerging Leaders training in international religious freedom and human rights. There, 21Wilberforce helped them understand the world situation and the importance of advocating for Christians, and also all faiths. According to the twins, the experience was life‑changing.
“When we went attending the Emerging Leaders training, 21Wilberforce helped us understand the world situation and the importance of advocating for Christians and all faiths. We were challenged to expand our faith to defend other faiths.”
A year after they attended the Emerging Leaders training, Shirley and Joyce became involved in their campus 21Wilberforce chapter. They now serve as co-presidents. “We are trying to help our peers understand that they have a voice and they can help people who cannot speak for themselves. about taking action, rather than sitting on the sidelines.”
Each year 21Wilberforce hosts a one-week training and networking event in Washington, D.C. for young leaders interested in promoting and protecting international religious freedom. The conference is designed to educate and transform the participants into becoming effective advocates.