Iraq (MNN) — Iraq has seen very high COVID-19 case numbers and full hospitals, but the church continues to work for restoration in the country.
If anyone thought COVID-19 would disappear after the first few months, those hopes have been dashed. The world now has over 13 million reported cases. While a few countries have successfully contained the virus, it continues to rampage through most of the world, including the Middle East.
In Iraq, things are looking particularly grim – reported COVID-19 cases have spiked 600% through the month of June. Samuel of Redemptive Stories says, “We are seeing thousands of cases every day that are even reported. I was just talking with a partner there who states that in Baghdad in particular, the number of cases continues to skyrocket. The local government has told them, ‘Don’t even come to the hospital, we can’t care for you. All of our ventilators are maxed out and that we don’t have enough capacity to even assist you.’”
Samuel says partners he works with have seen the virus in their own families and churches. The government has tried to slow the spread through a series of lockdowns, but it hasn’t worked.
The government in Iraq has other problems as well. Oil prices have dropped, affecting the income of the country. “Right before COVID-19 Iraq had a total of about six and a half million people that were in desperate need within the country of 40 million people.” Of course, the pandemic has only made that number larger.
The church’s work continues
The church in Iraq continues to serve Christ and spread the good news that he had risen from the dead. Samuel says that during a discussion with one partner, “He just met with a young believer from a Shia background that has come to faith. [We’ve seen] story after story like that.”
Redemptive Stories continues to train Christians in Iraq on how to use social media for effective ministry. Samuel says, “Even in the midst of their own illnesses and sicknesses, they’ve stuck with this and are completing the training and are excited to implement this.”
Samuel encourages Christians to pray that the kingdom of God would cover Iraq. “Let us be quick to pray. Let us be quick to continually remember that God has not forgotten this land and that he is still working there in no matter what the circumstances hold, or no matter how much turmoil and upheaval that country has seen.”
The header image shows Iraq on a globe. (Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay)