Dianna Nepstad pastors a diverse, multi-cultural church outside of San Francisco alongside her husband, Shaun, and their four daughters. She recently sat down with Propel to share her experience with A21’s Walk For Freedom, an annual event against modern-day slavery that reached over 70 million people in 50 countries last year alone.
Propel: Tell us about your first Walk for Freedom. Who did you walk with?
Dianna Nepstad: I attended an ARC conference and a women’s conference a few years back where Chris [Caine] highlighted, towards the end of her message, the thumbprint A21 has made globally in abolishing human trafficking one case at a time. She laid out practical steps on how each person can contribute on the ground game level through advocacy, Walk for Freedom, and financial support in partnership with A21. We decided as a church and as a family to contribute financially and participate in Walk for Freedom in our local city of Antioch.
Propel: How does taking a stand against human trafficking fit into your faith and calling as a Christian?
Dianna Nepstad: I’m internally motivated by Luke 4:18-19,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
It’s a real motivation not just spiritually but to see this physically as well. It motivated the prophetic abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, to pursue freedom for those held in captivity because of the color of their skin. Now it’s our turn in the 21st century, either through advocacy or partnership, to keep the light of freedom and hope alive for a new generation of slaves who have felt lost, entrapped and hopeless. So important!
Propel: How did your understanding of human trafficking change after your first experience with Walk for Freedom?
Dianna Nepstad: It helps make the global epidemic of human trafficking more personal, bringing it to a local level. It became clear that this was not just in other countries, but injustices of this magnitude are happening in our own backyard. To be shocked is no longer the only reaction. The conversation and involvement are now along the lines of, “Now that I’m aware, how can I help?”
Propel: What would you say to a friend who is considering joining Walk for Freedom for the first time this year?
Dianna Nepstad: Friend, you have enjoyed freedom and relished in having your family close to you, nurtured your friendships and advanced your career. Now, your freedom is not just for you to simply enjoy while there is a generational epidemic stripping people just like us from the kind of freedom that we have enjoyed so freely.
I encourage you to invest your freedom forward to others! It may feel that you are not making an impact but if I can say this, no one person can make a difference alone. However, if we link arms together, there’s an army of voices rising to declare, “No more. We will no longer leave it to others. Let’s own it together!”
Propel: What are you looking forward to at Walk for Freedom this year?
Dianna Nepstad: I’m looking forward to invading more cities with the message of hope and freedom through A21’s Walk for Freedom. It’s thrilling to awaken the soul of the city, her neighborhoods and her people to a common cause for freedom’s sake. It’s so powerful. I’m ecstatic to see you join us!
Human trafficking is robbing millions of basic human rights, freedom, and dignity. On October 19, join Dianna and thousands more in cities across the globe for the largest rally against slavery of its kind. Visit a21.org/walk to learn more or find a walk in your city.