I want to ask for prayer for a relief mission we are planning to northern Iraq for the refugees in the Kurdish regions. If you have been watching the news, undoubtedly you have seen the reports of the genocide by ISIS of thousands of Yazidis and Christians, and the displacement of tens of thousands of them from their villages to the dusty mountains of what’s generally known as Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The recent displacement of Yazidis and Christians from their native cities is likely around 500,000 but even before this an even larger number of Iraqis fled Mosul, Tikrit and other major cities in the face of ISIS’ brutal advance. This brings the total estimated number of refugees in the Kurdish regions to at least 1.2 million Iraqis, many of whom are in need of basic things like food, blankets, shelter, baby formula, clothes, and so on. Most left with whatever they could carry on their back or, if fortunate enough, what they could fit in their car.
Why Send A Team?
What can sending a small team over there in light of such staggering needs and tremendous amounts of refugees possibly hope to accomplish? We certainly can’t help everyone. Even the UN is struggling to find resources to help these poor Iraqis after being already depleted by the needs of the 2.9 million Syrian refugees currently scattered throughout parts of the Middle East. But we can seek to do something to help, and in addition to rendering some degree of physical aid for their present distress, also seek to bring spiritual light via distribution of the Word of God. Isaiah 58:6-10. We are praying the Lord might assemble a small team suited for this particular mission and region, and provide the resources to bring 10,000 blankets and 10,000 NT Bibles into the region to distribute to those in need, along with smaller quantities of baby formula and tents if possible. Some contacts I have in the Kurdish region have said these kinds of basic relief items are the most needed, and when asked when they were needed by, they simply said “immediately!” Our hope is to gather resources and depart in a few weeks to be there long enough to visit the needy areas we know of through both local Christian contacts and local government contacts. One brother from the Middle East has already committed to come with, and some others are considering. Due to logistics and security, we have to keep the team fairly small, but if someone is interested who has either medical or linguistic abilities fit for that region, please let me know. Talk to your pastors first (and your wife if you are married!) before me though!
An Open Door That May Not Last
The situation in the Kurdish regions changes daily. For now it is secure enough that the airport is still open and travel to that region is tentatively possible. This could change next month or next year if hostilities flare up near Irbil again, indefinitely closing the door to minister to these displaced refugees. I think of what our dear brother Bob Jennings said to us shortly before he went to be with the Lord: “If you are going to do anything for the Lord, do it now!” We serve a sovereign God, and to Him the nations are but a drop in the bucket, He is in control of all things and His purposes will come to pass in Northern Iraq. Yet this same sovereign God has told us to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” as well as to “do good to all men” as we are able to. The lesson of the Good Samaritan should suffice for us; Jesus told us to “go, and do the same” in following the example of the one who turned out of his way on the road to help the poor traveler who had been beaten and left to die. How many tens of thousands of refugees are like this man left to die on the side of the road, helpless and needing one to come out of their way, give of their time and resources, and help them in their distress. Pray with us for the finances and continued open door to go to northern Iraq soon and seek to help those there that we can.
Find Out More
For more information on the upcoming mission there will be updates posted to this blog as well as the corresponding Facebook page for our organization. If you are interested in the different ways you can help this mission, you can find out more on our mission support page.