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Dear Friends,

In 2016, Open Doors began a long-term initiative called Hope for the Middle Eastto meet the needs of people who were displaced from their homelands or who were rebuilding their communities after ISIS forced them to flee. We set out to encourage and sustain the church in the Middle East—particularly in Iraq and Syria—to continue serving God while facing war, attacks or persecution.

Open Doors is excited to report we are in the fourth year of this campaign. We’re focusing on restoring hope to Christians as they continue to rebuild their homes and communities so that they can, in turn, carry out Jesus’ Great Commission by living out the gospel in their homelands. We want to see the church in the Middle East rise up again!

The need for hope and encouragement is great. Many of our persecuted brothers and sisters in both Iraq and Syria are struggling to find employment and rebuild their businesses. Others are still displaced due to war and threats of persecution for their faith.

As part of the Open Doors community, you have the unique opportunity to support our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria by writing letters of hope and encouragement—letting them know that thousands of Christians are lifting them to Jesus.

Each month, we’ll focus on a new letter-writing theme as we encourage our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria. This month’s theme “Community and Belonging” is outlined below.  

Our persecuted brothers and sisters often feel alienated from their larger community. Sometimes secularization is to blame. Other times, religious extremism is the isolating factor. As a result, many who follow Jesus in a place where Islam is the dominant religion are forced to deal with difficult emotions: anger, sadness, depression and loneliness, to name a few. 

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong because of your faith in Jesus?

As you write to your brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria this month, please share how you have been encouraged to continue in your faith despite being rejected or alienated for being a Christian. Scripture has much to say to us and persecuted family:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

“For the struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

Hope is dawning in the Middle East. As followers of Jesus, we’ve been called to stand with His Church. We think you’ll enjoy playing a part in what is happening there in the birthplace of our faith.

Blessings,

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

This is a digital campaign only. Please do not submit handwritten letters for this campaign. Please use the form on this page to submit your letter. It will then be translated and shared via Facebook with many of your persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.

Writing Guidelines:

  • To assist in translation, please write in simple English and keep your letter brief.
  • Be encouraging and include 1-2 Bible verses.
  • As believers in the Middle East are facing struggles, you might want to share how you deal with personal (spiritual) struggles – for example, is there a special prayer or verse that helps you?
  • Show sensitivity; please don’t dwell on their plight or share about the blessings of life in your country.

For Security:

  • Do not mention Open Doors in your letters.
  • You may provide your first name, but do not provide your full name or address. Be aware your letter will be posted on a public Facebook page may be shared on social media by believers in the Middle East.
  • Do not criticize a country’s religion or religious extremists, its government, judicial system, or political leaders.
  • Do not make proposals to help.

If you would like to participate in more opportunities like this, you can regularly write letters to persecuted Christians in many countries by bookmarking and revisiting our website.

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