Believers in Iraq are thanking God that the “dark cloud” covering the Christian villages in the Nineveh plains has been lifted since the Iraqi government regained control of the area. Many families are willing to return to resettle the recently liberated villages in the Nineveh Plains close to Mosul, but, explains Father Jacoub, priest of a church in Bartella, “Three things need to be guaranteed before we can return to our village. There needs to be security, not only on local level but nationwide. The infrastructure should be in place again and the houses and places destroyed by IS should be restored. Before that, it’s not logical to go back.” He sees the liberation as a direct answer to prayer. “That makes me believe that God will hear our other prayers too.”
Families like that of Hashim* and Abha* would like to return to their homes. Both in their thirties, the couple dreams of returning with their six children to their ancient Christian village of Karamles. In an initial trip back to Karamles, they found their house still standing after two years of Islamic State occupation, but the inside had been completely burned. The heat from the fire had been so intense that even the concrete floors were rendered unsafe. For many families, returning would require a large financial investment to rebuild their ruined homes and businesses.
*Not their real names
Father, we lift Hashim and Abha before Your merciful presence, and we bring before You, as well, the many others who seek to return to their homes now that the Islamic State occupation has ended. May You provide the work, resources and support they need to rebuild not only their homes, but also the infrastructure of the villages and cities. We pray that they will be able to return in freedom and peace, and that they will be a light to those around them. As the world looks on, may they see that You have done it, that many might turn to You in faith as they see Your powerful hand of justice and mercy. In the name of Jesus, the Light of the World. Amen.