Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 12, 2017

What You Can’t Unsee

Amman, Jordan

The Iraqi refugee families we have visited over the past week are all haunted by the things they can’t unsee. Family members murdered. A father hung from a tree. Property destroyed. A beheading. The rape of a daughter. The distressed faces of others on the road out of town. Walls pockmarked by bullets. The looting of personal property. And more. Always more because the Islamic State has an insatiable appetite for destruction.

The toughest part of listening to these stories is the realization that, in each instance, children were present. Children witnessed the killings, the degradation of human life, and the destruction of property. These images are hard enough for adults to deal with much less kids. There is no way for a child of whatever age to unsee these horrors and atrocities that become the seeds of nightmares.

One of our teams met a talented young Iraqi girl who is a self-taught artist. Her artwork was amazing. In one piece, she sketched the horrors of her past in juxtaposition to her hopes for the future. Brilliant and moving stuff. She said that the only way she can cope with the mess of the past is by daily trusting God. She also asked that we not post her work online because of the personal and graphic nature of her work.

Another team met a fifteen year old boy whose right arm and right leg were blown off in an explosion three years ago. He had run for cover behind a phone pole only to have a rocket smash into the pole and blow it out of the ground along with him. He lives with the daily reality of what happened to him when the Islamic State rolled into town. His life is forever changed. He will never be able to unsee what happened to him.

All of the children we met showed some measure of resilience. Kids will be kids. And even though they have seen things no one should ever have to see, they still manage to smile, play games, and sing songs. And they craved our attention. They were so happy to see us and wanted to be sure that we set aside time to interact with them and not just their parents.

The future will be much different for these kids. For the time being they are in a safe place. The movement of their lives will continue in a direction away from the Islamic State. They long for a brighter future and their parents know that the only way to give their kids a shot at it is by creating as much distance as possible between their families and the Islamic State.

When the Islamic State is not killing and maiming kids it is recruiting kids into their ranks of child soldiers. Sending kids into harm’s way is normal operating procedure for jihadist groups. These things alone tell us much about the rotten and dark soul of the Islamic State. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.”

Our teams cared for lots of displaced Iraqi families this week — and blessed a lot of kids in the process. As Christ-followers, we value the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of childhood. We will continue to do all that we can to protect children and the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Where the Islamic State destroys we will continue to sow seeds of hope and life so that people who suffer most will see the beauty of Christ.


  1. Are these refugees in Katy somewhere? I think Leslie (my sister in law) told me about them… I’d like to know and help them, too. Can you tell me how?

    Thank you for all you do!!

    • Hi Jennifer. Houston is home to a number of refugees. Many of those who arrive in Houston initially resettle in the area of Hwy. 59 and Bissonet. We support work there with both money and volunteers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: