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MELM Holistic Ministry Newsletter

MELM holistic ministry is expanding in reaching the unreached, helping and ministering to refugees from Syria and Iraq, distributing holistic food packages to them, and reaching out to women and kids through Christian programs in their tents. All that couldn’t be done without the help and support of many donors. Therefore we thank all our donors for their generous support in which God is been glorified through MELM mission work.

Lately MELM produced a new newsletter “You are the Salt of the Earth” where we show that salt has no value staying on the self. It has value and worth only when it is mixed with the food. Many glances of MELM mission among refugees were shown in the newsletter through numerous pictures. The Newsletter was distributed to our contacts, supporters and donors thanking them for their concern through prayers and donations.

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House visits to Iraqi Refugees

This week MELM continued to reach out to Christian Iraqi refugees at their poor unhealthy rented residences. We have visited several refugee families who escaped from the atrocities that were committed by ISIS in their home towns in Nineveh valley south east of Mosel, Northern Iraq. Most of the Iraqi refugee families are still suffering from fear and anxiety due to the violence that they witnessed during their escape from the atrocities committed by the terrorist group ISIS.

They described their situation as deprived from the essential means of life as refugees but highly valued our visit and the food supplies that we provided to them, and especially the New Testaments that where distributed at the end of the visits.IMAG2761 IMAG2763 IMAG2782 pic 2 Refugee pic refugee

Middle East Lutheran Ministry Aims to Support Refugees in Kurdistan

The director of MELM traveled to Kurdistan and stayed in Ankawa town, a Christian town next to Erbil, where many Christian refugees are currently residing. We visited Mar Elia Church compound in Erbil, where currently 120 families live in 120 caravans. The manager of the compound informed us about the traumas that the refugees are facing especially young girls who refuse to go back to their towns and villages (even if it might be later liberated from ISIS). Some of the girls are still having nightmares and sleeping problems knowing that one of their girlfriends, or sisters or relatives was abducted by ISIS fighters and became a sexual slave for them.

During our trip, we felt a real need to support the women who were more devastated by the events and needed special help to deal with their physical problems and psychological difficulties.

The current situation of the Christians in Kurdistan and other parts of Iraq is miserable and gloomy. The Christians were around 1.5 million during Saddam Hussein’s rule, then due to the insecurity in Iraq, the number decreased gradually to around 750,000 in the first half of year 2014, and in July 2014 after ISIS attacked the Christian towns and villages in Nineveh region forcing them to leave everything behind, the Christians presence collapsed to around 250,000 only. Moreover, every day around 15 Christian families (around 75 persons) are leaving daily to Europe or other intermediary countries before they receive approval for asylum from the United Nations.

So the current situation is dire and the future of Christians is bleak as many of them feel unwelcomed by their Muslim neighbors who actually helped ISIS in identifying the Christians and in marking their houses with the letter ‘Noun’, N in Arabic for ‘Nazarene’. Many of them do not believe in coexistence with Muslims anymore and fear for their lives and for the future of their children whom they do not want to re-live this horrifying experience.

This is very sad and truly depressing news; it is evident that Iraq and Syria are now losing their Christian citizens for good with no desire of returning back, and no hope of stopping this type of demographic bleeding.

Before our arrival to Kurdistan, ISIS conquered the town of Ramadi and then the town of Baiji in Iraq, in addition to the town of Palmyra (Tadmur) in Syria. We were advised not to visit Kirkuk or Duhok since some parts of the road to these towns were about 15 minutes’ drive from ISIS.

We consecrated a whole day to visit the refugee camps in Koysenjaq, which is about two hours’ drive away from Erbil. Many Iraqi and Syrian refugees are settling there, in addition to a small Christian refugee camp of about 100 families and several small Yazidi refugees’ camps.

In Koysenjaq, I met several children in the camps and played with them football and shared few jokes. They were very happy and enquired about when I will visit them again to play a full match!

We were touched by the great needs of the refugees in Kurdistan and plan to reach out to the neglected small camps away from the capital Erbil. MELM seeks to comply with Christ’s teachings that he is in the hungry and the helpless, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in …” (Mathew 25:35-40).

We returned to Lebanon hoping to provide holistic support soon to cover a small part of the refugees’ needs, but more importantly to show the love and care of Lutheran Hour Ministry to them.

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