Lujah* is in her early seventies. She lives with her younger sister and nephew. They were inhabitants of Mosul, Iraq until the early morning of June 10, 2014. It was on this morning that friends knocked on their door impatiently, urging them to leave.
“We were living at our house with dignity, but suddenly, we had to leave everything behind,” she shares. “I only took a bag of clothes and I grabbed my Bible. We headed right to Qaraqosh, a city near Mosul where a lot of Christians used to live.”
Not more than two months later, they were also driven from Qaraqosh by the Islamic State and fled to Erbil.
What happened to their house? They heard everything was stolen from it and that the “N-sign” (symbol used by IS to identify who is a Nazarene – a Christian) was written on their house after they left.
“There is evil in people’s hearts in Mosul,” Lujah says with a sad voice. “They were giving the Christians a hard time even before IS came. So it is hard for the city to be okay.”
Lujah adds: “We have lost all of our possessions, but we haven’t lost our faith in Jesus.”
Now, the two elderly ladies share a house with four other families. A church is providing support for them in Erbil.
Prayer is their lifeline in this difficult situation. Through studying the Bible, Lujah discovered that it is important to keep her faith and keep praying even if she loses everything.
“Jesus and His Word are the only ones staying,” she says.
Lujah values the prayers of others but emphasizes that Iraqis themselves should be praying, as well. “It’s not enough that others are praying for us in Iraq; we should call on God ourselves and plea for our situation.”
Lujah already convinced one person to follow her example of praying – her 16 year-old nephew.
“I was so happy when I noticed my nephew was actually following my advice and praying daily,” she says with a smile. “It helps him sleep well and helps to fight the fear.”
Her hope is that all of Iraq will be praying soon.
*Her real name is protected due to security reasons
The United Nations reported in June that the number of people displaced within Iraq due to violence and fighting by the Islamic State has exceeded 3 million, a grim milestone for the war-battered country. Iraq is ranked #3 on the Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
To help those displaced by IS: Help feed an entire family for a month for just $50.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.