Someone by My Side

Testimony of new believer in Iraq

Day+11-9666+lr.jpg

I was away from the path of God, and my life revolved around my work and military service.

I am from a Christian background. However, I did not pay much attention to spiritual matters and only attended church on holidays and special occasions. The church I was a part of didn't teach much about the Word of God, and the emphasis was usually on rituals.

Originally, I was from Baghdad where I worked for a Turkish company. In 2014 when ISIS entered Iraq, some local armed forces who fought ISIS threatened me. They considered the Turkish to be supporters of ISIS, and I was working for a Turkish company. I had to leave Baghdad with my pregnant wife after one month of continued persecution, including soldiers coming to my house, hitting me and threatening me with weapons. I lost my work, my money, and all my belongings.

My wife and I arrived in Kurdistan on August 15, 2019. I felt terrible and suffered emotionally and physically for all the injustice I had encountered. I started to attend an Impact Middle East partner church. There, I started to understand the teachings of the Bible and was touched by the love I felt from the congregation and pastor. I accepted the Lord Jesus into my life. My conditions are still hard on many levels, but I feel differently in my heart. When I accepted Jesus, I had a strong feeling of someone being at my side – one who comforts me and supports me. My wife also accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and we both want to raise our daughter according to the Word of God.

No Real Change

Day 8-9151.jpg

by Impact Middle East leader in Northern Iraq

Rima*, a refugee woman from an Orthodox church background, had attended other evangelical churches. She enjoyed listening to the sermons and the teaching, but no real change had taken place in her heart. One day she visited our church in Northern Iraq, and then she attended a conference for all churches in our town. At the closing of the conference’s first day, the Lord touched her heart, and she decided to surrender her life to Christ. She committed to attend our church where she is now taking a discipleship class. She recently opened her home to start a home church group!

Please pray for Rima. She faces a great deal of resistance from her relatives and neighbors. Pray she will continue in her walk with the Lord. Also, pray she is a blessing to her husband and children and to many around her.

* fictitious name

A High Price to Pay

Day 11-9638 600x900.jpg

Hafsa,*a Syrian refugee woman, entered the doors of our church in northern Iraq. I greeted her and asked her about her family and how she came to know about Jesus.   

The story Hafsa told me began seven years earlier. Although she had come from a Muslim background, she began to read the Bible. She had observed some of her Christian friends and wondered why their lives and morals were so different from others around her. And she wondered what made them act with so much love. As she searched for Christ, she began to learn and understand more about the Christian life. She ultimately made the decision to accept Jesus as her Savior.

When Hafsa left the Islam faith and took off her veil, she paid a high price. She was kidnapped by armed men who later released her. Her husband left her and emigrated to Europe, taking their children with him. She fled her home and sought refuge in Kurdistan where our church is located. Hafsa turned to our church for help. We welcomed her.

Recently, Hafsa emigrated to the West. In spite of all she had faced, when she applied for emigration with the UN she insisted she be registered as a Christian. Hafsa hopes to be reunited with her children.

Without Fanfare

Iraq 11.8.18.jpg

A lot has changed in northern Iraq since 2014 when ISIS swept through the region with its reign of terror.

Much has changed, but much is the same. Political turmoil persists. Families face life without fathers and brothers. Trauma haunts survivors.
 

Quietly ... faithfully ... without fanfare ... Impact Middle East serves those who live with the consequences of war in northern Iraq. In cities like Erbil, Dohuk, and Zakho, Impact Middle East churches and leaders minister to those residing in their communities, as well as in neighboring villages and refugee camps.
 
Leaders in northern Iraq speak with gratefulness to God that He has helped them - and those working with them - over the months of 2018 to:

  • Distribute food parcels to families in need in their communities

  • Visit families in their communities to build relationships

  • Visit refugee camps to distribute items to needy families and gifts for children

  • Hold a two-day conference with the theme of caring for children and family

  • Organize a fun time for children at a cancer treatment center

  • Offer classes in accounting, mobile software, English language, marriage enrichment

  • Conduct sewing workshops to provide work for refugees

  • Offer ongoing church ministries for youth, women, discipleship groups

  • Operate a bookshop for Christian literature in the Friday market

  • Develop an educational center for young men and women in a nearby village

  • Offer psychological support for girls who survived ISIS

  • Train additional leaders

Impact Middle East leaders in northern Iraq would want you to know:


“We thank God for His endless love and grace.”

“We are always grateful to the Lord for His hand is with us
in all the ministries and activities of the church.”

“Peace and Grace to all the dear people who support the ministry in Kurdistan
through prayer and finances.”

Because of a Dream

Ahmed by himself.jpg

by IME leader in Middle East

”A”, a 93-year-old Muslim man, lived his entire life in an ancient city in Northern Iraq. The city was home to a large Jewish population since the Babylonian captivity centuries ago. Even after Muslims took over the city, many Jews remained. When Israel was established as a state in 1948, the Jewish population there suffered severe persecution. They were forced to leave their homes and move to Israel.

Across the street from “A”’s home is a building first constructed as a synagogue in the 4th century A.D. The synagogue was later turned into a Christian church, then converted into a mosque. Next to the former synagogue is another ancient Israeli site – the tomb of a rabbi who was known in the region to be a man of God. (The Muslim population there calls him “The Prophet Hazanah.”) Muslims turned the tomb into a dumpster because of the fanatic Islamic view that Jews are unclean.  

In his sleep one night, “A” saw a bright light and the man of God, Hazanah, appeared to him. Hazanah said, ““A”, you take care of your house and keep it dazzling clean. You make sure to take the trash out regularly, but people has turned my house into a dumpster. I want you to go and clean my house and protect it.” “A” felt a great deal of fear because he realized this was Jehovah, the God of the Jews, speaking to him through His holy man, Hazanah. He also knew that by cleaning the ancient tomb and the church he would be challenging his entire community. Realizing the great risk, he shared his dream with his father. His father said, “If the Creator God is ordering you to do something, then you should do it. He will protect you.”

“A” cleaned the tomb and rebuilt the broken parts of the church next door. Surprisingly, people started coming to visit this ancient holy site. When they learned about “A”’s dream, they started praying to the God of Hazanah. Miracles started to take place as God answered the prayers of the people. People sick with different illnesses received healing, and many infertile women became pregnant. No one harmed “A” because they saw that God's favor was upon him. 

One member of “A”'s family, a follower of Christ, is currently a part of IME’s ministry in Northern Iraq. We are praying that more of his family will come to know Jesus as Savior and learn that Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer, whom they experienced in this sacred place, has chosen to come in flesh to die for their sins and give them eternal salvation. 

Please, join me in prayers for more visions and dreams to be poured down upon Muslim and Yazedi people in the Middle East so they come to know the True, Living God. 

An Ordinary Christian

Zakho Iraq.jpg

testimony of Christian in Iraq

I was an ordinary Christian. I attended church, fasted, and gave offerings.

Then our family was displaced by ISIS. An IME pastor reached out to us in our desperation and helped us. He invited us to attend the church he leads. We began attending regularly and started to experience the presence of the Lord clearly. We were touched by His love and His kindness in a way we had never known before. We studied His Word and began to experience His provision for us.

I pray each person who is away from Christ or who is content to be an ordinary Christian would come closer to Him and see His glory and acknowledge His lordship.