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Empowering Women in Iraq

August 29, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Empowering Women in Iraq

Christian women in Iraq know what it is like to have only God on whom to depend. Many of them have experienced what it is to lose everything. Forced to fleeing from sectarian violence, they leave behind their homes and their sources of income. Some experience gender-based violence on their way to the safer Northern area, depriving them of the only thing they have left: their dignity. As they struggle to rebuild their lives, a Christian trainer named Makruhi visits them and begins to impart a treasure they will never lose-God’s love.

Women in Iraq often feel a deep sense of worthless. Christian ladies share with Makruhi that even in church they find it difficult to discover their place. She fights to help them recognize, develop and utilize the wealth of potential she sees in them. “Instead of letting them be passive attenders, we should discover the talent God has put in every one of them,” she says. Makruhi is encouraged by the support she receives from the local clergymen. “The pastors see the potential in the women but don’t know how to deal with it themselves. Sometimes they attend my classes and encourage the women to keep listening to me.”

She teaches the women to look into “God’s mirror” as much as they look into the physical mirror to learn how God sees them. “God’s mirror” into which she helps them look is the Bible, a book most of the women she teaches have only seen from the outside. Makruhi teaches them how to open it. “It’s half of the success if they start reading God’s Word,” says Makruhi.

Beginning her class, Makruhi speaks in a low voice with a strict look on her face as she fiercely commands, “All open your book now!” Then she bursts out in laughter. “Now this is the way to scare away the women in Iraq.” Makruhi has her own unique style of teaching. “I approach them in a way only women can approach women; we talk about a subject that touches us as women and then we open the Bible and I connect what we’ve learned with what is written.” Since not all of the women can read, Makruhi’s approach provides empowering encouragement by enabling even those who are illiterate to participate. “One of the illiterate women in my class felt so miserable and useless. When we prayed together, she started crying, telling me that no one ever prayed with her before. She continued following my lessons. Now she knows a lot about the Bible and is helping out in church.”

As Makruhi continues to visit the villages each month, the women increasingly trust her and ask her advice about the problems they face in life. Makruhi teaches them how to be a light in their society. “God is already using them and I want to further nourish that what God has given them.” Makruhi’s goal is to empower the women she teaches to pass on the lessons they have learned. These women are potential new teachers and Makruhi wants to help them grow. “I want to train the women to do what I do… I cannot reach all the women of Iraq on my own. This year I’m teaching them, next year they will be teaching others.” These women have much to teach us, says Makruhi. “They know that it’s no use to cling to material things and that it’s no use to remember what people did. Instead, they know they have to cling to God and remember what He did for them.”

Thank You so much, Father, for the wisdom You have given Makruhi and for the heart she has to teach and build up the women of Iraq through Your true words in the Bible. Whether we are men or women, we know that our true dignity is found in Christ alone and cannot be taken away. We pray that this message will be passed on from woman-to-woman that Your church in Iraq will be strengthened by the good gifts You bestow on women, gifts which they, in turn, use to serve Your church. In the name of Jesus who strengthens and equips His church, Amen.

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