Iraq: Freeing the captives and a growing crisis
Iraq (MNN) — As Syria and Iraq struggle to take back their countries from ISIS, they are running into the cruel hallmarks of the terrorist group. More recently, as reported by The Guardian, troops came across a mass grave just outside of Bashiqa, a town near Mosul.
At every turn, persecution and violence has gone hand-in-hand with ISIS activity. Dyann Romeijn of Vision Beyond Borders shares this about the Church in Iraq:
“When we think about the persecuted, it’s difficult to think of anybody who’s more oppressed than the people dealing with the conflict with ISIS right now. The atrocities they’ve experienced are beyond comprehension.”
ISIS has also at times targeted the Yazidi and moderate Muslims, among other groups. But in the face of fear, many Christians have been a powerful witness.
“What we’ve seen is Christ’s love in the midst of that darkness and oppression shines so much brighter, and there is a huge revival taking place,” Romeijn says.
She explains when ISIS came into these towns, they wiped out Christian communities that had lived peacefully next-door to their Muslim neighbors.
“As they saw what their religion was doing to the Christians who had lived peacefully beside them for years and years and witnessed to them and loved them, there was actually a huge turning to Christ.”
All in for Christ
When being a Christian means risking your life, you’re either all in or not in at all. You don’t waste time building your own kingdom, but focus on God’s Kingdom because that’s where your hope is found. And that’s exactly what happened with Christians in Iraq.
“They’re all in, they’re all in God’s kingdom, they can’t walk with one foot in each, and so you see a purity to their faith and a richness because it has been tried by fire.”
The genuineness and commitment to truth has been a powerful testimony to everyone who sees this faith. It’s also served as a call to other Christians to not hold back in their walk with Christ.
Liberation unravels challenges
As Kurdish troops advance on ISIS-held territory, they are freeing large groups of people who’ve lived in captivity for years. Romeijn says some of the Peshmerga soldiers were united with their own families at long last.
But with this exciting movement comes a sudden rush of great need.
“We’re kind of seeing, as they’re making these advances, which we’re so grateful for, we’re seeing kind of a second refugee crisis,” Romeijn says.
She asks us to pray that provision could be gathered and also to pray for the troops fighting ISIS — that more and more people would be freed.
We can also help raise humanitarian aid with Vision Beyond Borders through their Middle East Humanitarian Relief fund. Click here for more information.
In addition, Vision Beyond Borders is taking some trips to the Middle East! Click here to learn about that.