Helping the Displaced Go Home Again
The 35-year-old father of three spent two years in a camp for the displaced in Erbil, Iraq after Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists took over his town, burned his house and blew up his liquor shop.
Like many in the camps, Zain wondered if he and his family would ever return home. And like them, when ISIS was finally defeated, he found his hometown of Bartala and his house in ruins.
“Many people have accepted the risk to live in their burned-out houses in areas where there are no government services such as water, electricity or sewer,” said the leader of a ministry in Iraq. “Though suffering great frustration, these families gradually adapted to their situation. It is a great challenge for many who thought they had lost their cities forever, never to be inhabited by anyone again.”
With no money and no job, Zain was among those who saw no choice but to rebuild from the ashes. Native missionaries who had given his family critical aid in the Erbil camp came alongside him, providing basic supplies for rebuilding and helping to paint his house.
“It is a great challenge for many who thought they had lost
their cities forever, never to be inhabited by anyone again.”
“During the work we presented him with the Bible and spoke to him about Christ who forgives, changes and renews,” the ministry leader said. “He along with his family accepted the Lord as Savior, and he began attending Bible study meetings.”
Zain is rebuilding his shop, but this time, rather than liquor he plans to sell school supplies and books – and distribute Bibles free of charge to anyone who makes purchases.
“As the Lord gives us opportunities, we help the returning families to repair the devastation to their homes and rebuild them,” the director said. “The spiritual need is bigger than the material need. The Lord has prepared these broken souls and brought them to a place where, with tears, they are ready to receive the message of Christ the Savior.”
Native missionaries have access to a cultural center in Bartala where they hold meetings and teach the Bible. Bartala is home to hundreds of families from nominally Christian churches who have never opened a Bible, as well as at least 400 Muslim families.
“We desperately need Bibles to meet the need in this city. There are many Muslim families who asked us for copies of the gospel and gave us an invitation to come to their homes and teach about Christ,” the director said. “As we meet physical needs, we also focus on the spiritual needs. We share the Bible and Christ’s message with each family.”
Likewise, native missionaries throughout Iraq are helping displaced people to survive and to begin anew as they reclaim their lives from the ruins. Please consider a gift today to encourage and empower them.