Stories

New Life: Rebuilding a Christian Presence in Iraq

March 27, 2018 by Brian O. in

For the first time since ISIS invaded and forced Christians to flee their homes in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Holy Week after many of its families have returned. During this week leading to Easter, we visit Qaraqosh to meet with Christians there.

“Before we ran away from Qaraqosh this place was like a paradise for me, like Heaven,” 29-year-old Christian architect Noor tells us, smiling.

But when ISIS overran their town in 2014, she and her family had to flee overnight. It took almost three years to defeat Islamic State forces and make the area safe again, allowing Christian families to return to Qaraqosh.

Young mother Noor remembers vividly how she went back to her town for the first time, a year ago now, and saw the destruction the terrorists had left behind.

“It was like a hell. I smelled things that were so bad, I can’t imagine … Blood, dirt, bodies … It was like a ghost town. No lights, nothing in it.”

But she didn’t give up.

“We decided to move on and rebuild the city. So, I started working as a volunteer with the Reconstruction Committee of the church. First, to document the damage, and after that to help coordinate the reconstruction and rebuilding process.”

Worries for her baby daughter

When she fled in 2014, Noor was engaged to Anmar. During their displacement, they married. Two years ago, their daughter Ashly was born.

Over the last few years, Noor has realized how many Christian families didn’t return to their homes. Instead, they left Iraq and migrated to safer countries.

“I also thought about doing that because of the insecurity and thinking about the future for my little daughter,” she admits.

But Noor and Anmar made the determined choice to stay. “Because I love my town and my family, I decided to stay here and work with them to build and reconstruct everything,” she says.

Working as an architect to rebuild Qaraqosh

Soon after Noor and her family moved back permanently to Qaraqosh, the Reconstruction Committee offered her a job in the technical department working as an architect.

“I work on the information, the data and the registrations. Through that work, I can help other families rebuild and reconstruct their houses.”

Noor is proud she can serve her community in this way, she tells us, as we talk from the roof of her home. From here, we have a good view of the area.

“I dream of Qaraqosh,” she says, looking out over her hometown, “that in the future, it will be better than before. Like paradise.”

Grateful for your prayers

When she hears that Christians all over the world are following the Christians in Qaraqosh this week leading up to Easter, Noor is touched by the thought.

“On behalf of me and every single Christian in Iraq: We are thankful for every Christian in the world, for thinking about us. And we are grateful that you are helping us, also with your prayers. So, thank you.”

6 responses to “In Iraq, Returning Christians Share an Easter Message of New Life”

  1. Praise to you, children of our almighty God: Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Blessing to you strong men and women and children of Iraq. May our Lord God Almighty continue walking you through Victory. Amen. We will all suffer for His sake and He suffered for ours. Your Victory is so uplifting as I read this the morning between our Friday evening service at my church and tomorrow’s Easter Celebration. Halleluiah, He Has Risen and He will win. As I write this, the Jews of Israel are being threatened at their borders with might mobs of Muslins. They need your prayers, too. Through His love I send mine. Patricia

  2. Praise God! Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is risen! Death and Hell is defeated and our sins forgiven! Christians in the middle East have been persecuted heavily these past few years! Little or no help from the outside world being offered or given! This story of one small church offers a glimmer of hope that says our Lord is forever triumphant over the evil that still persists in that part of the world! Our prayers are with them!

  3. I would like to receive the updates of this church and Iraqi town bringing hope to residents returning. We can really learn from this church how we can build up OUR churches.

  4. God Bless you all. You are showing the world that Christ exists and will until the end of time!!! Father George, speak to our Christian President Trump. He will help your people.

  5. Wow that is so encouraging to see and hear. Over the years since ISIS displaced people in Iraq I have prayed and I will continue to pray for Heaven on earth in Iraq displayed through its brave and courageous citizens. God bless you.

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