Open Doors is now supporting over 6,000 displaced families in Iraq, through our local partners and churches on the ground.
We’re helping not only in the bigger cities like Erbil and Dohuk, where most Christians have fled, but also in smaller towns and communities on the Nineveh plain. Some of these are Christians who have returned to their homes.
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Video diary (part 3)
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Working through a local partner, Open Doors is supporting over 500 families in Al Qosh – a village in the north of the Nineveh plain – providing almost 2,400 individuals with food parcels and hygiene packs.
“Over the past two weeks hundreds of Iraqi Christians have returned to Al Qosh,” said an Open Doors worker. “Local partners we work with confirm the return of many families, and through the support of Open Doors, food and hygiene items could be supplied to the villagers.”
Until mid-August, IS was rapidly advancing in the Nineveh plain, a region with a high concentration of Christians. Christian towns are dotted across the area and many inhabitants fled their homes, often taking only the clothes they wore. In recent weeks, the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Army have regained some control, with international help.
IS never actually gained control of Al Qosh, but came to within 20 miles from the village. “Not all families left Al Qosh,” explained an an Iraqi Christian. “Some men stayed to guard the village in case IS would break through. Quite a number of families from southern towns on the Nineveh plain found refuge in Al Qosh. They are staying in schools and other buildings.”
Kurdish military forces are trying to regain land east of Mosul. About 45 miles south-east of Al Qosh is Qaraqosh. “The Peshmerga could not hold Qaraqosh,” said the Iraqi believer, “but we hear they are trying to push back the IS fighters towards Mosul. I heard the same from Bartella. That is smaller than Qaraqosh and maybe easier to get under control.”
“I have to see refugees as individuals,” said the Open Doors worker. “It is too easy to speaking of ‘the refugees’ and generalise them as a group. But each refugee has a life, identity and a home. We want to support each individual and we need to pray for all these mothers, fathers, children, teachers, truck-drivers and university students.
“Please pray that whatever happens to His children in Iraq, their identity in Christ can never be taken from them. Pray that the love of Jesus will cast out the fear in peoples’ lives every day and that they will stand firm in their faith.
“We have to pray for the Christians who are suffering greatly, but maybe as important is to pray for those who are mistreating them. Jesus calls us to pray for those who persecute us. We can stand next to our fellow brothers and sisters in prayer even when we’re not persecuted ourselves. Please pray that God will touch the hearts of persecutors, that they will have dreams of Jesus – as is happening more in the region. Pray that in the midst of the aggression people will be called to a standstill and realise they are doing the wrong thing.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.