Thanks to your support we’ve been able to help around 24,000 families in Iraq each month by providing them with essential food and supplies. But the need isn’t just for food. War and terrorism has seen many experience horrific things. People have been driven from home, they’ve lost everything and witnessed first hand the effects of violence. That’s why Open Doors works with partners and churches in Iraq to strengthen persecuted Christians, emotionally and spiritually, as well as practically, by training churches to offer trauma care.
Ramy (22) is just one of many leaders who has benefited from trauma care training. Forced to flee his home in Mosul more than a year ago, he is now sharing the new hope he’s received from this training through dance classes with children at the centre for displaced families in Erbil, Iraq.
On 6 August 2014, Ramy fled, along with thousands of others, as so-called Islamic State threatened to kill anyone who would not convert to their strict version of Islam. That night, Ramy slept on the grass in the courtyard of a church in Erbil.
“We lost our house and our memories. But we had no choice.”
“We were shocked. We couldn’t believe that we had lost everything in just one day and had to sleep on the ground the next night,” he remembers. “We lost our house and our memories. But we had no choice. If we would have stayed in our city without converting to Islam, Daa’esh (IS) would have killed us.”
Ramy was stuck in the newly-formed camp, with little hope of returning. “I just couldn’t imagine a future for myself,” he said. “I was talking with my God a lot; I was very angry with Him for allowing this to happen.” But God had an answer. Ramy was invited by his church leader, Douglas, to take part in trauma care training.
“I learned that it is good to ask how a person feels about what he has been through. Sometimes we should talk about solutions, but most often we should just listen. I was thinking about what I had lost every day, but through the training I found new strength to face my future and hope to continue instead of giving up.”
After the training, Ramy is even more aware of the importance of the space for children that he is providing. “I think the most important job for me with the children is to provide a place where they can be happy. A child must spend time with his friends and play. When they have such a place, they don’t think about their bad situation.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.