January & February News From Manara International

Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

First Mobile Clinic in Erbil is Open!

ClinicWe are very happy to share this news with you! We were recently able to open a mobile clinic in Erbil. The mobile clinic has been opened this month and is ready to serve everyone who is in need of medical attention and cannot afford it. This mobile clinic contains five different medical specializations, general doctor, gynecology, pharmacy, lab and dentist. It is located near to one building where refugees are living in Erbil, Northern Iraq.

Clinic2 We thank God for his provision and we pray this clinic will be a source of comfort for those who are in desperate need.

Cold Winter in Jordan

This winter in Jordan is a very cold one, temperatures are low and many refugees are not ready to deal with this kind of weather. The weather forecast and reports warn of more snow storms to hit Jordan.
JordanSnow
With your help, we want to continue to providing heaters, warm clothes, blankets, boots and food packages to all those who need them throughout this winter season.

Distribution Trips in Jordan

refugeesThis month, we were able to visit two different centers where a large number of Christian Iraqi refugees reside. They received a hot meal, food parcels, shoes, boots, warm winter jackets and toys for the children. Each child also received a special bag filled with various kinds of snacks.

Pray With Us:

Child

  • Pray for peace and stability to remain in Jordan.
  • Pray with us for the King of Jordan; may God guide him and give him wisdom as he handles the situation in these tough times.

If the Lord leads you to share a special gift today to help us minister to those in need and demonstrate his love, you may send it to the address below.

Hope Builders International
PO Box 91359
Austin, TX 78709
USA

Or give online.

Thank you for your compassion and for your friendship. You are a constant encouragement to all of us at Manara. May the God of peace be with you and those you love.

Isam Ghattas and the Manara Team

Bringing Hope to the Hopeless: A Frontline Report from Isam Ghattas

I returned recently from a trip to assess conditions of the Christian community in Erbil, northern Iraq. And I thought I was prepared. But nothing could have prepared me for the hopelessness I found when I saw it in person. It was very tough to handle.

Trip to Erbil, Iraq

15The streets of Kurdistan’s largest city are lined with children begging for money, for food, for anything to ease their suffering. Displaced families are everywhere; in tents and churches and unfinished buildings.

One thousand people were packed into one unfinished building in a mall. There was no flooring, no privacy. Makeshift wooden dividers separated families. Living in a construction site, many suffer from sinus infections and skin and eye problems. They have nothing. They share a tank of gas to cook their meager meals. They are all well educated and had built lives for themselves and their families. Now they have nothing. Two little girls…..as their parents were killed. Now, they hold each other and cry inconsolably. Who will care for them now? This is only one of countless stories of horror and suffering.

The Mobile Clinic Project

With so many desperate refugees, there is not nearly enough medical care. We were able to buy, refurnish, and supply a mobile clinic to provide free medical services. Each new clinic would have cost about $225,000; but we were able to find a used clinic and refurnish it with all it needs for $50,000. A doctor from Iraq has accepted to staff it and help. We have supplied it with two air conditioners and medical equipment. But there is a great need for medicine. Our goal is to have it ready by the end of November. Each mobile clinic will have a small reception area, a doctor’s room, an X-ray room, a laboratory, a dental clinic, and a pharmacy.

Trip to Bandewya

On the third day of our trip, we went to a village just a few miles from ISIS, on the other side of the Mosul dam. We had to take a security car that drove next to us and an extra van in case there was a problem with our vehicle. We were always in touch with the head security office in Erbil, and we had orders to be back in Erbil before sunset. It was a dangerous, six-hour drive.

8Bandewya is a Christian village, population 800. Many people from Mosul ran away to this village for protection from ISIS. We arrived with two trucks filled with basic necessities. We were able to distribute mattresses, warm covers for winter, food parcels, and heaters. Soon, the snows will come, threatening the lives of those who are not equipped to survive.

Distributing supplies

5The families were very thankful and appreciative; no one has ever tried to reach them before. They understood the risks we took to get there. They told us they can hear bombs exploding and the crack of rifle fire from the valley below and said they will have to flee to Erbil soon, because ISIS is getting closer.

If the Lord leads you to share a special gift today to help us minister to those in need and demonstrate his love, you may send it to Hope Builders International or give on the Contribute page.Thank you for your compassion and for your friendship. You are a constant encouragement to all of us at Manara. May the God of peace be with you and those you love.

Isam Ghattas and the Manara Team

Report From Isam Ghattas of Manara Ministries

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Dear Friends,
Here is a report that we received from Isam Ghattas of Manara Ministries this week. It describes the tragic situation facing our Iraqi brothers and sisters. Please pray for them and join us as we seek support for these brethren who are suffering greatly. One particular need is to help cover the cost of a container of relief goods that is scheduled for delivery to Manara. All contributions to that end are greatly appreciated.

Lance Thollander for Hope Builders International

From Isam:

It is truly a sad and miserable time for our Christian brothers and sisters from Iraq. No one can imagine what they have been going through, they were threatened either to leave everything they ever worked for or convert to Islam. They fled from Mosul and other cities to find refuge in Erbil and Jordan. Over the past weeks, thousands of Iraqi Christians have entered Jordan and more are entering the country each day.
They have been welcomed into nine different church centers in Amman and Zarqa. On our trip as Manara Ministries, we visited our brothers and sisters in the Assyrian Church near downtown Amman. We met with 40 people from a group of 70; they seemed well educated and trying to make the best of a bad situation. Some were able come with their families while others are completely alone. They have been turned from successful, working people into people who wait for aid from others. As a result of this exile, men and women have lost everything they ever worked for, whether it was money, gold, cars, homes and even businesses. Even the children have lost their basic right to education. We served them a hot meal and drew a smile on the children’s faces by doing some face painting.

refugees 1Many churches have opened their doors to welcome them and help them with accommodations. This group of Iraqi Christians have been living in the Assyrian Church; the living and sleeping arrangements are very uncomfortable for them as they have to share their rooms with others families. Unfortunately, not all have rooms to sleep in; the church’s basement hall has also been turned into sleeping quarters. They have put up wooden dividers to separate between each area. They also share a bathroom made up of two stalls. They also shared their heartbreaking stories with us. No one has hope of ever returning back to their homeland, as one young man said “I would have never thought of leaving Iraq, now we have no place to go back to, no home, no business, no schools and no cars.

Another family recalled their heartbreaking story. With tears in her eyes, the mother was shaking as she spoke. One of her relatives was in her home garden with her two babies, when suddenly out of nowhere a missile landed and exploded tearing them to parts right before her eyes. It was a horrific scene. She and other family members had to collect their body parts and bury them. After that, she and her family fled to Jordan for safety, under attack the whole way. They made it safely but they have nothing with them only the clothes they were wearing that day.

refugees 2Almost all of them do not have clothes for the winter season. Many need basic items for their children, such as diapers and personal hygiene items. Many need medicines that they can not afford to buy. So we took this opportunity to plan our next visit according to their schedule, which was the following Sunday. They were invited to eat a hot meal by another church. So we prepared boxes of clothes enough for 170 people, specifically winter clothes, for people of all ages so that they would at least have a long sleeve shirt and a coat to keep them warm. Children also received teddy bears and toys as presents. The future is unclear; they do not know where they will go and what will happen to them. Some wish to leave to Jordan and start a new life elsewhere while others do not want to leave and hope they can build a new life here. Until they are able to make decisions, they need our help and support to live a somewhat normal life. If the Lord leads you to share a special gift today to help us minister to those in need and demonstrate his love, you may send it to the address below or give online using the website link:

Hope Builders International
PO Box 91359
Austin, TX 78709-1359

Thank you for your compassion and for your friendship. You are a constant encouragement to all of us at Manara. May the God of peace be with you and those you love.

Isam Ghattas and the Manara Team

Containers Bring Aid to Syrian Refugees

aid-to-syrian-refugeesIsam Ghattas of Manara Ministries, phoned with joy as the container from Virginia bringing clothing, blankets, medical supplies and food arrived in Amman, Jordan. These goods are destined to help thousands of Syrian refugees who have been forced to leave Syria. Isam ministers to both Christians and not yet Christians who continue to suffer from this terrible tragedy which still has no end in sight. A second container containing shoes, hygienic supplies, cooking oil, soap and many other items left last week headed for Amman.

goods-to-shipBesides this ministry of love, Manara is hosting its annual summer program of outreach to youth at Camp Gilead. This program, unique in the Middle East, brings the gospel to life for young people who need to know there is a God who loves them.

Your support is crucial in helping Manara carry out both acts of ministry and acts of mercy in reaching the Middle East for Christ.

Container on its way to Syria

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lift with boxesWe are glad to let you know that the container that we asked for your help in filling is on its way to Jordan. The clothing, blankets, food, and relief supplies that filled the 40 foot container will bring much needed aid to many refugees. Nonetheless, the situation in Syria continues to worsen.

Here is a letter that we received from Isam Ghattas letting us know about the current situation and asking for your prayers. May the Lord bring much needed relief to them in this desperate hour.

With love,

Lance Thollander
Greetings from Jordan!

 

We at Manara International are saddened to report that the conflict in Syria grows worse everyday. We’re in dire need of prayer warriors to get through this conflict that has greatly affected Jordan since Syrian refugees have entered Jordan. King Abdullah has stated that the influx of refugees in this country is not something they can manage. There are very few resources to accommodate the 240,000 registered refugees (there’s an estimated 500,000 if all were registered). In total, one million Syrians have fled their home country since the start of the war.

What can we do during this hour of conflict? Prayer is essential and we are reaching out to you for that very purpose!

Besides the horror of all those who have died, there is the painful reality that many Syrian women have had to turn to prostitution to earn money for their families to live on. Not only that, many women are being sold into this lifestyle by families desperate to survive. Please pray for the burden that is upon Syria and its people. Another prayer point is for five women (four daughters and their mom) who came to Jordan from Aleppo without their husbands to seek refuge. We are afraid that these women are in danger of compromising their faith as Christians and becoming Muslim because of the unstable and desperate situation that they’re in.

Please pray that they will receive the accommodations and food that they need to survive in Jordan. One of the daughters has a virus and we were fortunate enough to help her by paying for her hospital visit. The father of this family was killed in Syria and only his wife knows this. She has yet to share the tragic news with her daughters. She also has two sons who are currently locked up in jail in Syria. As you can see, there are a lot of burdens upon this woman’s life so please remember this family in your prayers.

Let us be one voice in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the people of Syria; that God will redeem this country to Himself and that His peace will overflow from our hearts into the nation of Syria.

With love in Christ,

Isam Ghattas on behalf of Manara International

To help support the work in Jordan and Syria, visit our contribution page.

Camp Gilead Prepares for Summer of Ministry

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Camp Gilead Prepares for Summer of Ministry | Amman, Jordan

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This was the scene here in Amman in January, when the worst winter storms in two decades blasted the Middle East. It was very beautiful. But it was also very damaging and deadly. And it did not spare Camp Gilead. As most of you know, Mount Gilead lies east of the Jordan River and extends from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, sixty miles long and twenty wide.

Every summer, hundreds of children from different backgrounds encounter God in Camp Gilead’s two-and-a-half acres, where they are healed from the deadly wounds of sin. They are refreshed and strengthened in a world of trees and open sky, away from TV and traffic and the endless news of death and destruction. And every summer, many who come lost leave saved.

With the arrival of spring and the promise of summer, the children are already looking forward to attending the camps. And we too are looking forward, as we begin long weeks of preparation and training. I don’t know of camp counselors anywhere in the world who are trained as extensively and thoroughly as the young men and women who serve at Camp Gilead. But then, few counselors anywhere else have the challenges that present themselves when ministering to children who are born and raised in a perpetual war zone like the Middle East—children forced to deal everyday with fear, trauma, and hopelessness, in addition to the normal trials of childhood. The first round of counselor training begins next week, at the same time that we start to clean up the mess and damage left by the storms and flooding.

camp-gilead-blanketsThis year, we are also in urgent need of new mattresses and tents, some of which are simply worn out from years of use, some that was damaged by the storms. In addition, we need to repair damaged bathrooms and fences around the campgrounds. Will you join us in our preparations for this powerful ministry to Jordanian children and the children of Iraqi and Syrian refugees?

 

Pray for protection against Islamic extremists who have threatened and attacked us and the camp in the past. What God is able to accomplish in the children every year is a thorn in the devil’s side. And there is little he will not attempt to stop it. Pray that we will be able to restore the camp to its pre-storm condition. Pray for the counselors as they continue to train.

And please consider sending a gift to help us replace the worn and damaged camp equipment and purchase the truckloads of supplies we need every year to create an environment in which the Holy Spirit is free to minister to the children.

The cost breakdown for the new mattresses, tents, and repairs is as follows:

$3,900 for 130 mattresses ($30 each)

$7,280 for 13 tent canvases ($560 each)

$11,200 for repairs to facilities

Finally, please ask God to send us many children who do not know him, who have never even heard the gospel before. Thank you for your gracious support in the past. We look forward to serving the Lord with you again this year.
Peace be with you

Isam and Nihad Ghattas