Pray for the Return of 60-Plus Christians Still Missing from the Nineveh Plains and Mosul
As restoration of the Church in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain continues, the casualties of war are still very real for many families. Our local partners report that more than 60 Christians from the Nineveh Plain and Mosul are still missing since the liberation of the area at the end of 2016 and the summer of 2017.
The son of Adeeb Khedhir Qreshat and Najeeba Poules Hanna stands at the site of his parents’ abandoned home in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
He is taken back by what he sees. Nothing is left of his parent’s home. Everything is completely destroyed.
The last time he saw his parents was three years ago. While 100,000 Christians fled the city in one night when Islamic State militants captured and took control of the city in June 2014, his elderly parents stayed in their home. Mosul’s entire population was given a 24-hour ultimatum to either convert to ISIS’s radical brand of Islam or face beheading.
Thankfully, he learned that his parents got out in time before militants got to them and before the bombs hit. But he has no idea where they may be. His search for their whereabouts has led him to dead ends so far. Until recently–when he discovered some hopeful news while in Mosul, returning once again to the city to look for them. A taxi driver tells him that he remembered having an elderly Christian couple in his car who said they had been stuck in Mosul. Through tears, the woman told the driver that she had daughters and a son.
Adeeb and Najeeba’s son is somewhat encouraged by the taxi driver’s memory of his passengers. He believes they are his parents. Still, the driver has no idea where they are.
So the search for his parents continues–as does the search for 60+ other Christians in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain who have yet to be been found.
Two of 60+ stories
Adeeb and Najeeba represent two of many of the stories of families who are still missing loved ones. According to our local partner and another local non-governmental organization (NGO), a total of 64 Christians have been missing from the Nineveh Plains and Mosul since 2014.
The couple is among the three missing members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mosul, Iraq. The third person from Father Zakariyah’s congregation is Nathem Sabty (in his 50s). A former resident of Mosul, he was living in Qaraqosh with his wife and children when militants invaded.
“He moved with his family to Qaraqosh because of the persecution of Christians in Mosul the years after 2003,” the priest says. When Islamic State came to the village in 2014, Nathem told his family: “Go, and I will follow you later.” Sadly, Nathem didn’t manage to escape after his family left and has been missing since that day.
“Their family members are eager to hear anything,” Father Zakariyah tells our local partner in Iraq. “Since the liberation of the Nineveh plain and Mosul in 2016 and 2017, many have tried to find out about them, but we still have no information. We know nothing about their situations.”
Father, we pray with these believers for Your protection over these missing believers and their safe return. We ask that You would be near to their families and friends who are still missing mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, grandmothers and grandfathers. Your Word tells us that You bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, and we ask You to be tangibly close to our brothers and sisters who continue to search for answers. Finally, we ask that You would be ever-present in the lives of Your people and give them strength to live for You…
Photo is reprsentative only.