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  • The comments and opinions expressed herein on this web site do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and point of view of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Statements are made exclusively by the author and appear as written and have not be subject to the Lutheran Hour Ministries doctrinal review process.

LHM Radio Listener supports our Holistic Outreach in Iraq

During our mission in Iraq, one of our listeners insisted to join us and help with filling the humanitarian packages. Mr. Raed Hanna, a dedicated listener to our radio program, came with two of his friends to lend their support. He also took many of our publications to distribute to the youth and kids in his neighborhood.

We were very impressed that he traveled two and a half hours from his home town in Al-Shikhan to visit with us and share how he benefited from our program and its message. We were fascinated and captivated by the impact of our work which encouraged us to continue our mission in the Middle East in spite of all the risks and dangers encountered.

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Reaching Out to needy Refugees in Northern Iraq

In this blog, we continue showing our efforts to reach out to Christian Iraqi refugees in Northern Iraq. We have provided relief materials and food supplies to the needy refugees in several small camps in the vicinity of Erbil town. Many volunteers helped us in dividing the food supplies in equal rations and in gathering them in packages. We distributed the materials to all the families living in the camps and each family signed after receiving their package. All the families were grateful and thankful for our love and care to them and asked us to visit them again.

MELM traveled there to provide humanitarian aid to cover a small part of the refugees’ needs, but more importantly to show the love and care of Lutheran Hour Ministry to them. We brought for these needy refugees food packages with children coloring Bible books and detergents. We spent some time talking to the neediest and most affected families.

We have visited three refugee families who escaped from the atrocities that were committed by ISIS in their home town of Bartella, Northern Iraq. One member of these families is a school teacher who lost all his belongings escaping from the terrorist group.

Farid shared with us that he was shocked to find out that “several of the students of the school joined ISIS and attacked the Christian towns”. He told me, “we have taught them and improved their knowledge but they were not grateful!” I do not want to re-live this situation again and fear for the future of my children.

He is not alone – thousands of Iraqi Christians who were forced to abandon their villages in Nineveh valley are immigrating. The atrocities that were committed by ISIS were beyond all understanding. Many of the refugees are still affected psychologically by what happened especially the women who all know of other females that were enslaved for sex.

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.

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Street Ministry Outreach

MELM organized a music street ministry outreach in Marina Dbayeh (Cornish) where people usually come every Sunday to walk, do sports, or sit there next to the sea to enjoy the view.  We were group of youth equipped with MELM Christian publications, Bibles, and CD life of Jesus in several languages. While we played the music people slowed their walk down others parked their cars and came to listen to the Christian songs, so we distributed all the media we have to the pedestrians and the people in cars, young, adult and kids. Also we took time to talk about Jesus to those who were interested to know more about Him. A group of gang prayed asking Jesus His forgiveness and His salvation. It was blessed time and Jesus was glorified in all what we did, to Him all the Glory.

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Fruitful Bible Study to Non-Christian

“…Where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Act 16: 13-14)

We don’t know for sure all the life circumstances of Lydia the purple cloth dealer. We know that she was a woman who worships God the way she had learned. But when she listened to the truth from Paul the apostle, and believed that Jesus is Lord and Savior, she opened her heart and she believed.

That was a short life story of Lydia, what about Soumaya’s and Elham’s life story?! Soumaya,  a Syrian Muslim woman, was 13 years old, when she got married. She said “my mom dragged me by my hand from my playground, to give me to the man that I didn’t know to marry me at the same day”. She was married at an age of 13.  Elham, said I was 15 years old when my parents married me to a man I have never seen, and now I have 4 kids.

Similar stories go on with these Muslim refugees’ women, who have never got the chance to express their opinions or choose what they wanted to do with their lives. Happy or unhappy, she has to obey what she was asked for, and get married at age and with any man they appointed to her. These women are attending our MELM Bible study sessions weekly. They listen, they interact, they communicate, and they respond.

Soumaya and Elham, are ones of those who opened their hearts this week in our Bible study sessions, same as Lydia did, and prayed, asking Jesus for salvation, knowing that He loves them, and His life plans to them are the best and always for their good. He cares, about them, He cares about what they love, what they hate, and He has given them talents to practice and enjoy life. Jesus cares, Jesus loves, Jesus is the Lord and the Savior, that what we have been explaining to them during the Bible study sessions, and that what they prayed for.

 ”Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

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Holistic Relief to the Refugees of Northern Iraq

Since more than two years ago, Lutheran Hour Ministries – Lebanon started a Holistic relief ministry for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon. The stories of Iraqi Christian refugees in Lebanon touched our hearts and we felt the great need that is existing among Christian refugees in Kurdish territories in Iraq.

In July 2014 after ISIS attacked the Christian towns and villages in Nineveh region forcing them to leave everything behind. All the villages of Nineveh valley of Iraq are now empty, there is no one left. All the Iraqi Christians were forced to quickly leave the land of their ancestors without being able to take anything with them. They were given a 48 hour ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay the gizya (high tax per person) or leave.

More than 350,000 Christians were dislocated and up-rooted from their homes. They are now scattered in Northern Iraq. Tens of thousands of them live in camps packed with caravans that consist of one room and a small bathroom. These were prepared for the refugees to cover their basic needs. Others are staying in several large warehouses – which are not in service anymore – where every four families are sharing one bathroom.

MELM director traveled to Northern Iraq to provide humanitarian aid to cover a small part of the refugees’ needs, but more importantly to show the love and care of Lutheran Hour Ministry to them. We brought for these needy refugees more than 400 packages of food with children coloring Bible books and detergents. We spent three days in different locations in Northern Iraq focusing on the neediest and neglected camps.

We consecrated the first whole day of our visit to supports the refugee camps in the suburbs of Erbil. Many Christian and Yazidi refugees are settling there in abandoned buildings or houses. The children were very happy to receive the Bible children book and the refugee families’ tremendously appreciated the food packages.

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