Open Doors reaches out to Iraqi refugees

By December 14, 2007

Iraq (MNN) — The United Nations estimates that roughly 2,000 Christians per day are being displaced by violence in Iraq. 

A movement considered to be the "second wave" includes IDPs who were unable to move earlier but now must move because of the violent situation. They have left everything behind and are living on their cash in hand.

Open Doors is working closely with local partners to bring in survival supplies for those who have fled to the North. Christian IDPs are getting relief supplies, housing help and spiritual counseling. Open Doors is supporting them in the basics of everyday life: food, shelter, heating, clothes and medical care. In Syria and Jordan, Open Doors is helping with similar relief for the neediest families among the refugees.

In doing so, Open Doors' Carl Moeller says they're helping preserve a remnant church and Christian identity. "To be completely dislocated is so horrible for them. They've lost their jobs, they've lost their homes, and they've even lost their church. So we're actually working to bring Christian communities together in small groups–local churches of these refugees where people can find others that have fled as well." 

However, seeking refuge in the North hasn't turned out very well, either. The flood of refugees has increased unemployment and dramatically heightened the cost of living. Moeller explains, "The influx has created a social dynamic that has created more violence against Christians, so we don't have a lot of optimism in the short term for the situation over there. "

Through helping the refugees, Open Doors has the opportunity to establish a relationship of trust, which could revive the faith of nominal Christians who are frustrated with religion because they feel that their spiritual leaders did not care for them as they should.

"During this season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we need to reach out to those who are suffering as many of the IDPs are in Iraq," says Moeller. "We're just praying that God would intervene in these violent areas so the violence would decrease, and that not only physical relief would be provided for these, but a spiritual relief." Click here if you can help.

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