Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Sept. 3, 2013
Iraqi Christians Need Our Prayers after Bloody Month of Ramadan
The past few months have been extremely violent in Iraq, especially during the month of Ramadan, which is said to be the bloodiest Ramadan since 2007. Christians in Iraq need our prayers as violence against them is increasing. “The hope of the Christians in Iraq is fading away,” says Open Doors fieldworker William “with our work we are able to bring a spark of hope, but the situation is bad and it keeps getting worse.” A Christian mother, living in Mosul with her husband and two children, said: “Mosul was in a very bad situation during Ramadan. There were more bombs and more threats towards Christians; they (Muslim extremists) send threatening messages to our mobile phones and throw threatening letters into our houses. There is more fear.” People in Iraq fear a new civil war. William says that that many Christian families in Baghdad have to stay indoors because the situation on the street is too dangerous. Also, Christians from the area tell Open Doors that they are afraid because their Christian religion is on their ID cards: “They start killing people according to their ID’s” a terrified woman from Baghdad said on the phone with Open Doors. The violence during Ramadan adds up to the increased amount of violence against Christians throughout Iraq. With every incident, the fear by Christians increases. They are losing hope. Fieldworker Jane emphasizes that we cannot forget our brothers and sisters in Iraq; they need our prayers and encouragement: “Let us pray for angels to watch over their homes, their cars, the doors of their homes, their churches and schools. Let us pray that God will especially protect them from their enemies.”
Iranian Believer: Amazing Dream Brings Her to Christ
Recently fieldworkers had the chance to meet some believers from Iran to disciple and encourage them. This is what Sheefteh (not her real name), a young women, shared with one of them: “Ten years ago exactly, I got a dream. I saw Jesus coming towards me with a necklace. He hung it around my neck. I looked down and saw that it was a cross with the number 10 in the heart. I didn’t know what it meant back then, but from that moment on I did know that Jesus existed. I was raised in a Muslim family; a devout one. I was a bit different than the others. I used to pray in our own language: Farsi. I was taught to pray in Arabic, but that’s a language that is very different from my own language. It was after the dream that I enrolled in psychology in a university. One of the lectures I had was about the world religions. The assignment we got was to write a paper about one of those religions. Of course I choose to further investigate Christianity. I didn’t really know where to start, so I decided to call a general information number asking them where I could find a church. They told me that there was a church in my city and I went there. In that church I got to know Christ. Ever since I started exploring Christianity I’ve had discussions with my mother about it. Only recently she accepted the fact that I’m a Christian now; my father still hasn’t accepted it. I’m happy that my husband is also a Christian. We can’t go to the normal church where I met Christ, since it would be too dangerous for us, because we have been Muslims before. In our house group we are teaching other believers now and I counsel people in church who suffer from marriage problems, depressions and sometimes even suicidal thoughts. It isn’t easy being a Christian in Iran, but that’s why I’m so happy that you’re here with me today, encouraging me and teaching me new things. I think this is what Jesus wanted to say to me with the ’10’: that in 10 years I would be here with you, knowing Him and being together with someone who also knows Him and that you could help me in being a better counselor for my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
(For more information or to set up interviews, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).