Blog

September 02, 2014

Straight from the Horse´s Mouth

By Brittany Tedesco

For several weeks now, my thoughts have been consumed with the Iraqi people and what´s happened to them. Especially now that Christian Aid Mission has launched its #HelpLocalIraq campaign, which I explained in last week´s blog post.

The gist: we wire funds directly to four indigenous (local) ministries with workers and contacts inside Iraq, as well as 16 ministries in surrounding countries that are aiding Iraqi refugees.

So what are they doing? What are they seeing? What is a typical day like for them?

Our Middle East Director asked them these questions and more. The answers? Here they are, straight from the horse´s mouth:

(From a ministry working in Kurdistan, Iraq)

Q: Tell me about a typical day in Erbil.

A: During the past few days, many Christian families have been arriving from villages around Mosul to Erbil because they were attacked by the terrorists. They have no relatives or money and are forced to live in public parks or in the gardens of churches around Erbil. Just today, two old men and four babies died.

We met a 28-year-old mother from Qaraqosh who started crying when she saw us. “We lost everything, we have nothing,” she said. “No food, no hope. I don´t have money to buy milk, diapers, or medicine for my daughter. I am so tired and do not have the resilience to continue. I just want to live in peace.”

It´s sweltering here at almost 120 degrees F. We met a 15-year-old boy with kidney pain. He told me, “My family is very sad because they cannot do anything for me. They do not have money to buy medicine for me or take me to any hospital. We lost everything, but I wish to stay alive.”

Our team just delivered 300 meals—bread, various types of beans, and tuna fish—to people huddled in public parks and abandoned buildings.

We desperately need a mobile medical clinic. We hope to refurbish a large van, which would require around $40,000 for the vehicle, supplies, medication, and nurses.

(From another ministry in Kurdistan)

Q: What kinds of people are you helping?

A: We are reaching Muslims with the gospel, but are also helping a lot of displaced Christians. We have a ministry with Yazidis, Shiites and Sunnis, mostly Kurds.

Q: What is the spiritual condition of most Christians? Are they nominal or born again? Do they know the Bible very well? Are they resistant to born again evangelical Christians?

A: Most of the displaced Christians are Catholics, Orthodox, Syriac Church, and Nestorian Assyrians. They don´t know the Bible. They have a basic church teaching that is mostly not biblical. Their churches have warned them to stay away from evangelicals. Before, we faced a lot of resistance, but not now. Their world has been turned upside down, and God is bringing them to their knees. They are open to the gospel and are listening with broken hearts and open minds. The number of saved people is increasing on a daily basis. We´ve stopped counting because there are so many people praying to accept Christ and committing to studying the Bible.

Q: What is your approach to these internally displaced people (IDP)? Is it only food and physical help? What is being done spiritually?

A: Food, medicine, and basic supplies are only tools for us to deliver God´s message. We have no interest whatsoever to only meet physical needs without telling people what their real need is. Every family or individual who receives anything from us will hear a message about the Lord Jesus Christ or get a tract, New Testament, or children´s Bible. We offer to pray for them in Jesus´ name. We also offer Bible studies, and invite them to join a group prayer meeting in a tent.

Q: Are the non-Christians receptive to the gospel?

A: Everyone we are working with now has all the time in the world to listen to us. Especially Muslims, now that they´ve come to realize what real Islam is. They have no problem believing now that Jesus Christ is Lord and Christianity is the way to God.

Q: How have all the IDPs affected Kurdistan?

A: Of course it´s put more pressure on the local government, but they did get the attention of the world and a lot of countries are helping them. The demographic has changed a lot. Kurds are not the majority in Erbil anymore. We all know that this is temporary and we have to get the job done before these people go back to their homes.

(From a ministry working with underground Christians in Mosul, Iraq)

Q: What is happening in Mosul?

A: There were more than 80 MBBs [Muslim-background believers] meeting together in one underground church in Mosul when ISIS infiltrated, and more Christians were meeting in four other locations near the city. Some missionaries have stayed in Mosul, despite the danger, because the “harvest” is too great to leave now. God is moving.

(From a ministry working with refugees in Lebanon)

Q: How many families are you working with now?

A: We´re now caring for more than 100 families who´ve left Iraq for Lebanon. These are all Christians, mostly MBBs. The biggest expense is finding places to rent for all of them.

Please remember to pray for these ministries, living and working in harm´s way for the sake of the gospel. To help them go to christianaid.org/Iraq.


Comments
Brittany Tedesco - posted October 2, 2014
Dear Yims, thank you for your comment. To answer your question, the native missionaries assisted by Christian Aid Mission have sent reports that many of the displaced Iraqis and Syrians they´ve encountered are “nominal” Christians, meaning they identify themselves as Orthodox, etc but come to realize, through conversations with the native missionaries, that they´ve never actually made a personal decision to follow Jesus Christ. In other words, they´ve simply identified themselves as belonging to a particular religious group apart from a real relationship with Christ. I´m sure this is not always the case. It is not our job to judge who is and isn´t saved. We just report what the native missionaries we assist report to us. Also, it is not only Christians who are facing persecution from ISIS. This terrorist group is threatening any who refuse to convert to Islam and even other Muslims who oppose their radical agenda. The Yazidi sect, for instance, has been brutalized by ISIS. It´s a terrible time for so many people. Let´s keep praying for them.
Yims - posted October 2, 2014
Hello, thank you very much for this report. There is still so much need among these brothers & sisters. Thank you for risking your lives out there to serve them and put $ into the hands of those who can effectively use the funds. I'm a bit puzzled about the part about these Christians who are Catholics, Orthodox, etc, who have "basic church teaching which is unbiblical"? Aren't they Christian and aren't they where they are now because of their faith in Christ? How come the account up there says in the same paragraph, "They are open to the gospel and are listening with broken hearts and open minds. The number of saved people is increasing on a daily basis. We´ve stopped counting because there are so many people praying to accept Christ and committing to studying the Bible." It almost sounds like some of them were not saved or something? But aren't they pretty much there because they were persecuted for their faith in Christ? Can that be clarified a bit? This doesn't have to be a public comment, I just know that might bring up some questions, thank you. God bless you all and those in Syria & Iraq.
Carmen - posted September 16, 2014
I share in the suffering of my brothers and sisters and the oppressed worldwide, and await the good Lord's faithful and great deliverance, protection and provision. Praise you Jesus! My prayers are with you all. Count on my assistance.
Joel - posted September 05, 2014
This is wonderful what you are doing to help these dear people. And that they are coming to Jesus Christ greatly is well - alleluia ! As at Samaritan's Purse when the doctors at the many overseas hospitals help cure their patients they are more than ready to hear the Gospel of Christ. I hope to send you money to help these people (hopefully a lot) when my account begins to grow.
Robert - posted September 05, 2014
I too share the burden you spoke of. As I go through my day, with everything so normal (Get up, go to work, come home, rest in a safe home, eat, sleep, pray, study) while these precious folks, and their little ones so dear to them struggle to even live one more day! How God must love them! How he must surely hear their cry... as it reaches his ear! I pray he does miracles!! I am glad some nations are beginning to help. But I pray Our Great God does what is beyond "bread & fishes" I pray he puts a cloud by day & fire by night. Between those seeking evil and these helpless souls! I long for such a true move of God to occur, that the rest of this world marvels! For He surely can!!!


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