As ISIS takes over villages and towns throughout Iraq, many are fleeing for their lives to the mountains. One of the areas accepting these refugees is a part of Northern Iraq, formerly known as Kurdistan.
Haven Ministries caught up with an evangelical pastor who is faithfully proclaiming the love of Christ in one of these villages. His church is just 3 miles from the front lines where militants are still trying to break through.
For his safety, we are witholding his name and exact location. In broken English, this is what he said:
What is it like in Iraq right now?
The Islamic State militia came from Syria to Mosul. They have taken control of the situation there, and Christians who want to stay alive must pay taxes, become Muslims, leave, or be killed. So all of the Christians left.
The Muslims took all of the churches, and the bishops’ offices to make their own. Christian families got everything taken from them, their laptops, their money, their cell phones, and even the keys to their home. [ISIS] took everything.
Thousands of these families fled to the mountains and came to Kurdistan. We saw them and tried to help them to find places to sleep, but most of [the refugees] are homeless. And most of them don’t have money to buy food. Many of them were robbed, and some of their daughters were taken to be sold in the market.
But we do thank God that the soldiers of Kurdistan are good people who stand together and defend the people here.
What is it like to share the gospel where you are?
It is difficult to stand on the street and speak about Jesus. We cannot go knocking on doors and giving out Bibles. But what we can do is help them and love them, because they need love and want to understand who we are.
We try to tell them that our faith is love. But we don’t just tell them about our love, we show it to them by the Holy Spirit. But how can we do that? We go to them and sit with them to just see their needs. And we try to help their needs and when we do that, they see the love.
This is our chance to tell them why we are different. It is a process. It is very difficult. Go, wait, love, share, help, tell – all of that could mean death. They could kill me for this. And we do that by faith, by the Holy Spirit, we are using love in Jesus’ name.
People tell us that we are different and we tell them it is because we have the real God, and His name is Jesus Christ.
Haven Ministries is partnering with Samaritan’s Purse to bring relief to Iraqi and Syrian refugees who desperately need food, shelter and safety in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Through local partnerships and logistical supply lines, thousands of lives are being saved! The number of refugees grows daily and much more help is needed.
Would you make a gift today and make a difference in Iraq?