Missions Insider Report :: Missions Insider
Iraq refugees reached by native missionaries
April 23, 2007
Every day thousands of Iraqis flee their country due to the continuing sectarian violence, poverty, lack of basic infrastructure, unemployment, and civil unrest. Nearly 20% of Iraqis are living below the poverty line.
Most Iraqi refugees take shelter in the Arabic- speaking countries of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Many of them have never heard the gospel. One Christian Aid-supported ministry, covertly working in the Middle East, has found that these refugees are often open to the gospel. Christians have a multitude of opportunities to reach out to these refugees, who are left without the aid of the government.
Once away from their family, friends and culture, refugees frequently question their native religions. Despite the great challenge, ministries in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are taking this important opportunity to share the gospel with Iraqis.
Jordan: Approximately 700,000 Iraqi refugees are living in Jordan with limited legal status. While wealthy Iraqis fled to Amman and live very well, most suffer from poverty and lack basic necessities. Often they have left behind all of their belongings. The flow of refugees continuously increases, yet international aid has decreased. Indigenous ministries tackle the basic yet increasing needs in Jordan by providing food parcels to the refugees. One ministry, which has started many churches throughout the country, is distributing these parcels containing sugar, rice, tomato paste, canned meat and oil.
Syria: Indigenous ministries continue to facilitate the distribution of food parcels and Bibles to needy Iraqi families in Syria. These ministries also support a medical clinic to provide needy patients with free medical prescriptions. Now that more than 1 million Iraqi refugees live in Syria, representing more than 5% of the country's population, Syria has decided to prohibit Iraqis from entering the country. Since 2003, with the high influx of refugees, food and housing prices have skyrocketed. Children comprise 48% of the Iraqi refugee population in Syria. Although permitted to attend school, Iraqi children are discriminated against. Education provided by Christians is always welcomed and appreciated by this marginalized group. Two Christian Aid-supported ministries in particular have opened schools for Iraqi children. Because Syria does not issue work permits to Iraqi refugees, most adults are either unemployed or working illegally. Syrian ministries are providing vocational training for jobs that refugees can legally perform.
Other Stories about Indigenous Missions reaching Iraq