In 2016 you helped us send over 2,500 Bibles to the Middle East. Here’s an example of where some of those Bibles could have gone…
“God told me in a dream that He wanted me to go and work in Bible distribution,” says Sajjad*, an Open Doors partner. Your support is enabling Sajjad’s dream to come true – Open Doors local partners are planning to distribute 50,000 Bibles, children’s Bibles and Bible study books in Iraq in 2017.
Many Christian families who used to live in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain lost all their belongings, including Bibles and other Christian books, when they had to flee to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State in 2014. “That is why the demand for Bibles and other Christian materials is still high,” Sajjad says.
We joined Sajjad on a trip to deliver books to Christian children and youth in northern Iraq, in the Christian village of Mala Barwan. Sajjad explained that about 200 young children from would receive a colouring book with Bible stories, and older children would receive a book with 27 Bible stories. Many of them are not used to reading the Bible themselves, Sajjad says. “The purpose of distributing these books is that children and youth will understand better what God has to tell them in the Bible.”
Projects like this, focusing on children, have a special place in his heart. Sajjad says, “What we do with these books is sowing the seeds of the gospel in their lives. My dream is that, within 15 years, the seeds will have grown up and these children will have a living relationship with Christ. We will need a lot of prayer to make that happen.”
He stresses that distributing Christian books is only effective when working alongside other programmes. “That is why we also train teachers and Sunday school volunteers, to help them communicate the gospel to young people.”
When we arrive in the small village of Mala Barwan, a large group of children, along with the village church leaders and a group of church volunteers, are already waiting.
One of the church leaders, Farid, says, “We really appreciate the books for the children. We already give them Bible lessons. Because these books offer the same stories but with pictures, the children understand them better. Sunday school is now an audio-visual experience.”
Fadia (15) and Dani (13) are two of the teenagers who receive Biblical books. “Through these books I understand who Jesus is,” says Fadia. “I know Him better now.”
Dani agrees. “These books help me understand what Jesus did on earth before he was crucified,” he says. “He helped the children, He healed the sick, and He made the blind see.”
Sajjad says, “I dream that in twenty years what we have sowed today by bringing them the gospel will have grown up into a beautiful garden of flowers.”
He has one last request: “Please realise that the materials we handed out today will have value in God’s kingdom when He gives His blessing. Please pray for God to continue to bless these activities, for His Word to take root in the lives of these children.”
*Name changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.