Message from a Higher Power
When 25-year-old Justin Wren asked God for a sign, he got one. Wren’s career as a heavyweight wrestler and ultimate fighter had earned him multiple championships. But as victorious as he was, Wren started questioning God about his calling. If he wasn’t supposed to be wrestling, he wanted God to tell him.
In his younger days, Wren had struggled with a painkiller addiction. Then came alcoholism and marijuana use. When the problem intensified, he was kicked off his Ultimate Fighter wrestling team and encouraged to consider drug and alcohol rehab. Thanks to an email from a friend, Wren joined a Christian men’s retreat. Three days later, God’s love radiated upon him. In an interview with SI.com, he said: “Everything changed one day. I gave my life to Christ and it changed everything.” After that, Wren joined a prison ministry, and in 2011, took his first trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here he met the Pygmies, African people known for their short stature.
The Video Seen Round the World
Last September, Wren posted a video online that he had recorded on his cell phone from one of his Congo visits. In it, Pygmy children surrounded Wren, in awe of the presence of a white man. Months later, when Wren was struggling to raise funds to visit Congo again, the video went viral, getting 400,000 views in only 24 hours. It was shown on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” and the “Today” show. Wren capitalized on the popularity to raise funds for his next trip.
Wren knew that he needed to start spreading the word about the Pygmies. People needed to know that in their own country, Pygmies are seen as animals, not citizens. Education and medical attention is nonexistent for them. Wren created a project called “Fight for the Forgotten,” which focuses on relocating Pygmies to a safe place so they can start over. His goal is to free 1,000 enslaved Pygmies in one year.