Christine was just 3 years old when she was taken by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) from the arms of her mother, Ayda. Christine has now been missing for over two years.
Ayda and her family were forced to flee their home in Qaraqosh, and they now live in a porta-cabin in a camp for displaced people in Erbil, supported by our local partners with food and hygiene kits. “But,” as Ayda told our Iraqi contact who visited her recently, “Christine is still there.” ‘There’ means ‘in IS territory’; so close you could drive there in a matter of hours, but so dangerous that Christine may as well be on the other side of the world.
There is a photo of Christine on the cabin wall, taken since she was captured. Ayda’s son stumbled upon the picture on Facebook. “We heard that Christine is living with one of the Christian ladies who was kidnapped by IS. The lady was forced into marriage with an IS-fighter and somehow managed to take our Christine under her care.”
In some ways, this is good news – they know that Christine is alive, and they can hope that she is well cared for. But Ayda and Christine’s father, Khader, worry about the hardships their daughter is going through, and wonder if they will ever see her again.
It was Christine’s fifth birthday on 18 July. “I don’t know how she celebrated it. Shortly after we found this photo on Facebook, the internet was cut from Mosul. Now we don’t have any news” said Ayda.
“Sometimes, I fear that my Christine grows older without me, that I will never see her again.”
But Ayda doesn’t want to give up hope. As long as Christine is still close by, Ayda and the rest of the family will not leave Iraq either. Ayda will not rest until her little girl is safely back in her arms where she belongs. “Without her, it’s like part of our heart is missing. We are not complete without her.”
The family of Christine urges us to pray that Christine will return.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.