Send messages of hope to Iraq and Syria

As part of the Open Doors community, we invite you 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 up to Jesus.

Each month, we’ll focus on a new theme as we write personal letters to our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria. They will be translated into Arabic and then posted to a designated Facebook page. Those who follow the page will be able to like, comment and share the content, giving them an opportunity to engage in Christian conversation with an online community of believers.

The story

In 2016, Open Doors began a long-term initiative called Hope for the Middle East to meet the needs of people who were displaced from their homelands or were rebuilding their communities after ISIS forced them to flee. We’re now starting the fifth year of this campaign, which seeks to encourage Christians as they continue to rebuild their homes and communities—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. Christians in Iraq and Syria struggle to find employment and rebuild their businesses. Others are still displaced due to war and threats of persecution for their faith. In addition, Iraq has gone through deadly political protests against the government while northern Syria continues to recover after the Turkish incursion in late 2019.

Current theme: Coronavirus

As the world fights the coronavirus pandemic, let’s remember our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq by sending them words of encouragement. In the Middle East, most governments have ailing economies and weak healthcare systems. Syria, in particular, is still suffering from a horrific civil war and barely has a healthcare system. And even though the current reported numbers of affected people are relatively low in Iraq and Syria (compared to Europe and America), the spiritual and emotional impact of the epidemic weighs heavy on persecuted Christians there—and our field expects it to rapidly worsen.

Our brothers and sisters face many challenges due to coronavirus. We know that vulnerable Christian communities are at a greater risk for isolation—unable to leave their homes and gather in churches or even listen online to worship services. This is where we come in—we can send messages of encouragement that will be posted on a special Facebook page in the Middle East.

Thousands of our brothers and sisters desperately need a sense of Christian community right now.  

Our field has shared some things to keep in mind as you send encouragement to our brothers and sisters in a different cultural context (although you may be able to relate to all of these right now):

  • Families and extended families are very important to people in the Middle East, and they depend on them for support during crisis (more than the government or even church), so a message that references family will be especially encouraging (for example, you are part of our family, we are one family, you are my brother or sister).
  • Right now, most Christians are observing Lent in preparation for Easter so many of them are fasting and holding daily services and prayers in their homes.
  • In traditional churches, the church building is important for believers and their services. Not being able to worship in these familiar buildings is exceptionally difficult for them.
  • In mainstream media and social media, many Muslims—especially Muslim clerics and community leaders—publicly pray for or post prayers for healing of only Muslims only, which adds to the feeling of isolation believers already have.

Thank you for reaching out to our family on the other side of the globe to encourage them. Now, more than ever, we must remember that we are One Church. One Family.

Photo: Basil benefits from a micro loan in Iraq.

Logistics

This is a digital letter-writing campaign only. Please do not submit handwritten letters. Instead, we welcome you to use the form on this page to share your message. It will then be translated and posted in a closed Facebook group for many of your persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.

Writing Guidelines:

  • To assist in translation, please write in simple English and please keep your letter brief.
  • Be encouraging and include 1-2 Bible verses.
  • Because 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 when you feel fear?
  • Please 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 offer your first name, but do not provide your full name or address. Be aware your letter will be posted on a public Facebook page and 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.

 

Send a digital letter:

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