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
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.
Many 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.
Almost 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