Open Doors In Iraq: Aid Impacting The Iraqi Church
Lydia* is on the ground on behalf of Open Doors this week. She reports what an Iraqi church is going through, and how Open Doors donors are making an impact in their daily lives, for His glory!
My alarm goes off at 6:15 am since I planned to go to the early morning church service. I can already tell the temperature today will be even higher than it was yesterday, and indeed, it reaches over 47 degrees Celsius (117 F). When I go outside, it’s like a huge fan is blowing hot air through the city. Unfortunately, we can’t turn it off. My stomach is protesting against it; I feel I could throw up any minute. Anyway, off we go. The church hall is slowly filling with people. Some girls recognize me, and welcome me back from yesterday. After service, I shake hands with Shireen, a young mother of three little children, who is in charge of the hygiene and food distribution.
This church is helping over 360 families here in Erbil; 216 families live in the church’s courtyard. Every day, they give out breakfast, lunch and dinner to over a thousand people. Every day! I am so impressed by all the work that is being done. Not only by the church, but also by the people who live in Erbil. Help is coming from many different sides. A telephone company is even giving away free sim-cards. People send buses to the church to pick up women and their little children so they can have a shower at their home. Children are also receiving toys to play with.
Quickly glancing in the church office, which is now being used as storage, I see a fridge filled with little squares of cheese spreads. Against the wall is a huge pile of diapers. The desk is filled with cans of powdered baby milk. Further, there are boxes with rice, blankets, toilet paper and much more.
All of a sudden, it occurs to me that the help this church can give is also supported financially by Open Doors and the church worldwide. I feel blessed to see with my own eyes that this is of great help to these people. It is a reality here to stand strong in the storm together. This is something I want to remember when I am back home. Prayer and giving donations often feels very removed and almost too easy, but it’s not! It is making a huge difference in places like this. This is how we, Iraqi, Dutch, Korean, French, or whoever we are, can stand together as One and shine the light of Jesus in a world of need.
Open Doors is committed to being present among the believers who live in the places where Christians face the most persecution listed on the World Watch List. With the on-going persecution from ISIS of the believers in Iraq, we can still stand united with them in the purpose of glorifying God through the trials. These believers have made Christ more beautiful than their persecution, and it is our joy to encourage them.