Middle East (MNN) — Millions of refugees fleeing ISIS have lost everything. Not only have they said goodbye to family members, friends, homes, and belongings; they’ve also seen the end of hopeful dreams and a happy future. But Open Doors USA wants to restore the vision for a strong future for refugees.
Numerous amounts of refugees have told the story of their lives prior to being displaced. They’ve said they were happy, respected, had a good education and life. But after being forced from their home and into another country, they’re struggling to get their feet under them once again.
Jobs are limited and mediocre at best. Families are living in tents or small apartments, making barely enough money to make ends meet. They’re scared, losing hope, and traumatized by all they’ve seen and been through.
“I would like you to imagine what it would be like to be forced to flee by a terrorist group, lose everything, and run away to a safe area–then to wake up the next day and realize you have nothing left. I hope this will never happen to you, but imagine what it was like for us,” 22-year-old Iraqi refugee, Ramy, told Open Doors.
Ramy was one of the thousands who fled Mosul from ISIS instead of converting to Islam. Now he is living on a church compound. With a number of other refugees living in the same area, it’s starting to look like a small village.
“When we arrived, there was nothing here–just the garden of the church. So the first week, we slept on the grass.”
Ramy says he was in shock at how much he lost in the matter of a day. Over the next few months, he became distraught, and hope for returning home faded.
“I just couldn’t imagine a future for myself,” he said. “I was talking with my God a lot; I was very angry with Him for allowing this to happen.”
Many displaced Christians have had similar experiences. They wonder if they’re finally settling down or if they’ll be forced to flee again. They worry about how it’s affecting their family and sculpting them for the future.
“The question of whether they can survive losing more loved ones is a realistic one for them,” says *Kyra, a trauma care trainer who recently traveled to Iraq to instruct sessions.
Trauma care and trauma care training supported by Open Doors are restoring hope and encouraging refugees to push on.
Because Christians often look to spiritual leaders for guidance, these trainings are first offered to leaders over a three-day course so they can be well advised on how to respond to the grief and loss.
“The training helps participants reconnect with God in the midst of their pain and suffering and shows them how to help others do the same,” Kyra says.
The trainings incorporate conventional and expressive art methods as well as spiritual exercises. For Ramy, this was the perfect form of counseling and taught him to keep persevering.
“I was thinking about what I had lost every day; but through the training I found new strength to face my future and hope to continue, instead of giving up.”
Ramy is now teaching dance lessons to children as a form of counseling and a way to get past the hard times.
“The important thing is to not lose your faith in God. Trust in God, not in yourself,” he says. “As Christians, we are asked to love everyone and to help everyone. So this is what I expect from you: we need your prayer, your support, and we need you to speak up for us. This will give us hope to continue, and it will help us to stay strong in the faith.”