Iraq – Christmas appeal 2016
‘Run! Islamic State is coming.’
It was two o’clock in the morning when Samira heard the words she’d been dreading: ‘Run! Islamic State is coming.’
She woke up her four children aged between four and thirteen and bundled her most precious possessions into a small suitcase.
The family then fled into the night from their home in Qaraqosh. She joined hundreds of others who were escaping north towards the autonomous region of Kurdistan — today home to more than three million displaced Iraqis.
She lost two of her children in the crowd
After hours of walking she couldn’t carry her case anymore. When her feet started bleeding, she had to take off her shoes. Then, she lost two of her children in the frantic crowd.
Beside herself, she went back to look for them, asking everyone she met whether they had seen her children. But nobody had. In utter desperation she cried out to God.
Within a short time her prayer was answered: other refugees had found the children wandering and had brought them with them. Eventually Samira and her children made it to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, where they spent the first few nights sleeping in the street. Then a local church found them and took care of them, giving them food and other supplies provided by Release’s partner Majed.
‘We give the displaced families food packages, blankets, gas for cooking, heaters and clothes. It helps them to survive: many arrive in Kurdistan with nothing,’ said Majed.
‘Often they are in a state of shock and fear. We comfort and encourage them. ‘My heart is to help persecuted Christians, because I was once persecuted myself. I’m joyful to do what God has called me to, and to see many of the refugees come to Christ, but I am sad to see their great need.’
Majed knows first-hand the cost of following Jesus in a Muslim nation. After he converted his family rejected him and he lost his job. He was beaten and had to live on the street.
‘That’s why I have a heart for refugees and Muslim-background believers,’ he said.
Your generous gift to Release this Christmas can ensure that vulnerable Iraqi Christian families on the run get the help they desperately need.
You can give online using the button below and selecting ‘Iraq – Christmas appeal’ as the destination for your gift.
Or you can give by calling the Release office on 01689 823491
Thank you for showing your love for persecuted families in this way.