Hurt and hope collide in northern Iraq

By February 25, 2016

Iraq (MNN) — Winter weather and ISIS are making life unbearable for those who remain in northern Iraq.

Christian Aid Mission_Syrian refugees

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

When announcing the recent deaths of at least three refugee children due to heavy rainfall, Fadhil al-Gharawi stated, “Bad weather and a lack of urgent medical care prevented efforts to save them.”

Al-Gharawi is a member of the Human Rights Commission in Iraq, an independent organization that reports to the Iraqi parliament.

As explained here, the Iraqi government cut off aid to nearly 9 million of its people months ago, allegedly due to “conformity to the United Nations declaration of stopping all forms of assistance.”

Meanwhile, in Mosul, a prominent Sunni leader says the Islamic State’s execution count is up to 4,000, and he’s calling for immediate help.

A coalition led by the U.S. military is reportedly preparing to re-take Mosul from ISIS control, but it won’t be easy. “No doubt, Mosul is gonna be hard,” Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke told reporters earlier this week.

“It’s further away from Baghdad, where the majority of these forces will come from, and it’s clearly a much larger city [than Ramadi and] has many different sects that are part of it.”

Out of northern Iraq’s pain and turmoil, hope rises.

VOM_refugees northern Iraq

An Iraqi woman and child stand just outside a shelter built for refugees driven from their homes by Islamic extremists.
(Photo, caption courtesy VOM)

Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton says God is working in refugees’ hearts using Muslim-background believers like Mohammed.

Mohammed and his wife live in a refugee camp in northern Iraq with over 1,000 Sunni Muslim families.

Below, Nettleton shares Mohammed’s story:

“About 10 years ago, [Mohammed] had a dream where Jesus Christ came to him in his dream and spoke to him. He woke up and [concluded], ‘Jesus is real…I’m going to be a follower of Christ.’ About six weeks later, his wife had the EXACT same dream–which is mind-boggling to me! She woke up and had the same response: ‘Jesus is real. I’m going to follow Him.’

“They began, as a couple, to follow Jesus Christ. They began to witness for Him in their community (Mosul); subsequent to that, their house was burned to the ground. The police came and said they did an investigation, but there were [allegedly] no witnesses….

Iraqi Christians

Christian homes in Mosul were marked with the Arabic letter “N” for Nazarite and “Property of the Islamic State.”
(Image, caption courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

“[Mohammed and his wife] continued to follow Christ. Then, in the summer of 2014, ISIS comes to Mosul, and they have to flee…. They are [currently] living in a Sunni Muslim refugee camp because their ID cards still say, ‘Sunni Muslim.’ They’re surrounded by more than 1,000 Muslim families in this camp, [and] they were the only Christians.

“They witnessed for Christ and led members of other families to Christ. So, now there are parts of three families that are Christians in this camp of over 1,000 [Sunni Muslim] families.

“[In recent days] we’re sitting with Mohammed and his wife and family in their tent… There’s a little kerosene heater, there’s snow outside; it’s FREEZING–the kerosene heater just barely knocks the edge off the cold in the tent.

“At the end of our conversation, he shared his testimony and… [I asked], ‘Mohammed, what are you praying for? What are you asking God to do for you?’ He kind of looked at me, almost like it was not a very intelligent question.

“He said, ‘We don’t have to ask God for anything. We have everything that we need. We’re happy.’ And I’m [speechless.]

(Representative photo courtesy VOM)

(Representative photo courtesy VOM)

We’re sitting here in a tent, surrounded by people who are enemies of the Gospel…. They (Mohammed and his wife) don’t leave their children alone, they don’t leave their stuff unguarded in the camp because even in the camp, they could be persecuted.

“They’re in a tent with a kerosene heater, and he [responds like that]…. What an incredible sense of contentment and just resting on God’s presence, resting on God’s provision, and not being upset about tomorrow, or the next day, or next week.

“[They’re] just saying, ‘Hey, we’re serving the Lord, He’s taking care of us. We have everything we need.'”

Join VOM in praying for believers like Mohammed. Learn more about the VOM newly-released book, I Am N.



  • This mission run a mission project where we train men and send them to nation in Africa. And we have prayer time every Friday 12 to 5 pm for the church and the missionaries. We need you to send to us prayer points and news that will help to know what is happening to persecuted Christian.

  • Saloma Smith says:

    Is there any such meeting in the Toronto-Mississauga area ?

  • Barb says:

    I belong to a small prayer group of women who pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ every Tuesday morning. We cannot attend the night of prayer, but I wonder if you could send me information such as Emeka has asked you for. We can pray with you for the requests toy are putting before the Lord. Thank you very much for doing this for the persecuted church!

  • Sylvia Arena says:

    Thank you Father for these wonderful people. Father protect them from the evil one. Surround them with your angels. May they continue to be a powerful light of Christ, witnessing to people around them. Give them wisdom and discernment. May they have much favour with the authorities and their neighbours. Father may your Word prosper in them, bearing much fruit. Father we pray for the unbelievers – may their hearts continue to soften, may they hunger and thirst to know the Truth.
    In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

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