Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 13, 2014

ISIS is Like a Darkness

In recent months, Christians in Iraq have become the target of persecution by a group called ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This hyper-violent Islamic jihadist group is considered much stronger and better funded than Al-Qaeda. ISIS is intent on creating an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria. They have imposed Sharia law in the towns they control — law that covers both religious and non-religious aspects of life.

Fueled by absolute hatred for all non-Islamic peoples and unrestrained by any regard for the sanctity of human life, ISIS continues to commit unimaginable atrocities against the innocent. Disturbing reports of children being beheaded, people being buried alive, and entire families being killed in public continue to flow out of the regions that ISIS has swallowed up like a darkness.

Thousands of Christians in Iraq have fled their homes and the cities where they have lived for generations in order to escape this pervading darkness. Most have escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Other minority groups in the region, like the Yazidis, have also fled their homes in search of safety. Thousands of Christians and other minority groups have sought safety in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The Kurds are a people who understand persecution.

Missions Emphasis Week Missions Week
I recently contacted my friend Heather Mercer to ask about what Global Hope, her organization, was doing to help the displaced Iraqi Christians. I had the privilege of visiting Heather in Kurdistan in the Fall of 2008. Heather’s ministry is based in northern Iraq and recently completed construction of the Freedom Center, a beautiful facility designed to reach out to college students. Heather loves the Kurdish people and is committed to spending her life among them.

Heather replied that her team is coordinating efforts with the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations to meet the humanitarian needs of the displaced Iraqi Christians. She said that they are converting the Freedom Center to serve as housing for displaced families. “We hope to be able to house up to 1000 women and children,” she wrote. Heather added that an estimated 5,000 people entered their city this past weekend. These families are in need of food and other daily living necessities.

Our missions ministry sent an initial financial gift to Heather to help her and her team address the needs of the displaced families seeking refuge in Kurdistan. We will continue to monitor the situation and do what is necessary to help provide for the needs of these suffering Christian families. In addition to having some of their practical needs met, these families will be encouraged by the knowledge that we are standing with them in prayer and that they are not forgotten.

Heather added, “The Erbil airport is closed now. Lots is happening and people are scared. The Christians have given up hope for Iraq and are all trying to leave. We are praying that this will be the beginning of a spiritual awakening and that God will use us for such a time as this! Thank you for helping us help refugees. The need is dire.” While ISIS is spreading darkness, I’m glad that we can help Heather and her team to push back that darkness by bearing the burdens of our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Ultimately, the darkness will not overcome the light.


Responses

  1. Dear Pastor Omar,
    We were so thankful, and not at all surprised, to learn that KBC is supporting the poor Christians of Iraq.
    God bless you as you lead the way.

    • Thanks, Marcia. So glad that we have a good partner in the area.


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