Iraq (MNN) — The war in Iraq has
created a disaster situation for many vulnerable families. According to Duane Zook with Global Aid Network,
however, there's a silver lining.
"The war has created, I think, a unique opportunity for us as
believers to come alongside believers in Iraq, and to reach out to these
families — the orphans, the grandmothers, the widows, who have been affected by
the disaster and the war," said Zook.
GAiN's partners provide food, clothing, and
shoes along with Bibles and JESUS films. Backpacks and school supplies also open doors for Gospel ministry.
"Our key contact has said, 'You don't
understand how key this is — not only meeting the need, but also building
relationships, building credibility, and giving us an open door into this
village,'" Zook explained.
Sometimes a village may be closed
to the Gospel, but doors open when Christians reach out with backpacks and
school supplies. GAiN's partners often
bring in religious material and coloring books with Bible stories along with
"One of the schools, I heard, was
using some of the Bible stories as part of their curriculum," Zook said. "One of the Christian leaders in the
community was actually asked to come in and be a substitute teacher, to teach
about ethics — of course, based on the Scriptures and on the life of Christ. So, a simple backpack with some school supplies
can do incredible things."
When the Christians distribute
food or other supplies, they keep Bibles and films about the life of Christ on
nearby tables. God uses all kinds of
unique situations to work through this. For instance, one man picked up a JESUS film at a medical clinic and put
it on his dashboard, even though he wasn't really interested. An hour later he came back to the clinic,
telling staff the film had saved his life.
"He said, 'I drove out, I came
to one of these false checkpoints, and I was of the wrong brand of the majority
religion there,'" Zook related. "'My name
indicated that I was a candidate to be shot.'"
The man panicked, knowing he
would soon die unless he could find a way to escape. But when the guard saw the film, he said, "Oh.
you go on, you must be one of those dirty Christians," Zook said. "And so [the man] came back and said, 'I've
got to watch this film now.'"
GAiN's partners also serve people
like one woman who recently moved with her family to a new city. A ten-year-old girl had walked into her home
and shot the woman's husband, disabling him. Now
the woman was trying to care for her husband and three children in a new city,
with no support. This woman was
profoundly grateful for the food provided by the Christians in the city and wanted
to learn more about their beliefs.