The bloodshed continued with bombings and shootings, including the devastating car bomb in a busy market near Baghdad that killed 14.
According to Reuters, security is also deteriorating in Iraq as evidenced by a mass jailbreak last Sunday near the capital. Around 500 inmates escaped, including senior al Qaeda militants.
But for all the terrorism and attacks continuing in Iraq, there is positive change giving hope to refugees in Iraq, including Christians.
From a one room apartment with three kids to a big house full of children: Aswad and his family are one of the many Christian families in Iraq helped by a micro credit from Open Doors USA. They now run a successful kindergarten. It’s a happy chaos in the kindergarten. Kids are running around, throwing balls and sitting on little swings.
How many kids exactly? Aswad puts his hands in the air and starts smiling from ear to ear: “I don’t know” then he looks at his wife Eshal for help: “We have about 60 children from different ages now,” she adds.
Aswad is visibly proud to be to owner of this joyful place. It’s hard to imagine that only five years ago, he and his family were living in a one room apartment; broke and unemployed. Like many Christian refugees in Kurdish North Iraq, Aswad’s family fled the violence in the Baghdad area.
The Kurdish area is a relatively safe place for the Christian minority, but it also has disadvantages, explains Open Doors fieldworker William: “Most Christians don’t speak Kurdish, the local language. This makes it very hard to find a job.”
Most of the Kurdish workers have a job at the government, but for the Arabic speaking Christian refugees, working at the government is impossible. For Aswad, this was no different. He couldn’t find a job and was desperately searching for a way to feed his family.
“One of the few possibilities to make a living as a refugee is to start your own business,” says William “but you can’t start a business if you don’t have money. That’s why Open Doors is giving out micro credits.”
It’s a simple procedure: the refugee hands in a business plan and if it’s approved, he receives a small starting budget. Right after his business starts running, he starts paying off his debt. “Most of them pay off their debt in a short period of time,” says William. “We have helped many people starting taxi services, hair salons and mini-markets.”
Open Doors exists to “strengthen and equip the Body of Christ living under or facing restriction and persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and to encourage their involvement in world evangelism,” according to their website. Iraqi Christians are often targets of violence, but this micro credit program allows them to flourish as the Church in Iraq. You can support there ministry here.
Please pray for the safety of citizens and Christians in Iraq. Pray for Open Doors as they continue to minister to refugee families