Tales from Indigenous Ministries working in Iraq

October 11, 2012

Living in the West, it can be difficult to understand the special challenges that native missionaries face daily in closed and developing countries; particularly in the Middle East and other Muslim lands. Christian Aid is in constant communication with native missionaries spread throughout the developing world. The following are clips from stories told to us from native missionaries in the Middle East. We hope that by reading them you will gain a better understanding of mission work in these lands.

Over one third of Iraqis still live in semi-nomadic rural settlements organized by tribes, one native missionary reports:

"God's blessings have overwhelmed us through the warm welcome we have received from the families and tribes. One of the tribes honored us by slaughtering a sheep. We took the opportunity to share the gospel and explain from Isaiah 53 how Jesus made the sacrifice for us:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

At the beginning, the tribal elder refused the message based on the Muslim teachings he had received. We continued the discussion, providing the prophetic verses about Jesus´ death and resurrection. Afterwards we gave him a Bible, and he assured us that he will start reading it to understand the message of God."

Tales about Iraqi refugees in Jordan

"A couple months ago, three neighbors left Iraq and moved to Jordan, hoping to be granted refugee status by the UN. Their goal is to relocate to another country where they can live normal, safe lives, and earn their own living."

"Yusra holds a B.A. degree in Banking and Commercial Sciences. With advanced English skills and work experience, she became an expert in the fields of computers and the internet. After her father´s death in 2000, Yusra became solely responsible in providing for her mother and brother. Her brother suffers from a kidney disease that makes it difficult for him to find work. On July 21, 2011, Yusra returned home to find her family´s house turned upside down, everything of value stolen, and her mother lying dead on the bathroom floor. Yusra realized that the safest option to ensure survival would be to leave the country with her brother, her sister Ghada, her sister´s family, and a neighbor, Shoosen."

"Ghada left Iraq with her sister, Yusra, who is married with four children. While she and her husband, who is a chef, look for work in Jordan, Ghada´s other priority is to make sure that her children receive a quality education and continue to follow Christ. She registered her children at a school, but the books are too expensive and they cannot attend."

"Shooshen, age 40, was working with the Red Cross in Iraq. She lives with her father, who cannot work, her brother Fawzi and his wife, and their two children. Fawzi made a living buying and selling spare car parts. He also worked as an electrician at a church, where his wife was a Sunday school teacher. After his family received a death threat, it became clear the family needed to leave immediately."

"In Iraq, Yusra, Ghada, and Shooshen lived in the same neighborhood. Knowing each other´s situations, they decided to use all of the money they had to move to Jordan together. Yusra, her brother, and Ghada´s family live together on the fourth floor of an old building in Marka/Amman. Shooshen and her brother´s family moved to another apartment that is full of mold. These families have a monthly need for help with rent, medical needs, food, school expenses, and heat and utilities."

"Every refugee has a different story. Each has needs. Each has many fears. While some NGOs are providing assistance to refugees in Jordan, it is primarily being directed to help Muslims."