ISIS terror tactics have contributed to many Muslims in Iraq and Syria coming to Christ. Christian Aid Mission reports that in the first six months of the raids about 70 percent of those displaced to the northern Iraqi cities of Erbil and Dohuk who have embraced Christ are Yazidis. This ethnoreligious community in Iraq was once hard-to-reach for native Iraqi missionaries, as their members lived reclusively in distant mountains near the border with Turkey.
About 80 Yazidi families of 7-10 people each have put their trust in Christ. “Around Kurdistan there are many churches and ministries, and the number of converts is huge,” a ministry director said, adding that the total likely amounted to several thousand.
Among them was a Yazidi boy of 15, named Shirkahn, who lost both of his sisters to ISIS kidnappers. When the ministry director met him in Dohuk, the boy was trying to help his mother and father survive by asking people if he could shine their shoes for the equivalent of less than 25 cents. “He told me this story with tears,” the director said. “His dad was paralyzed because of what happened to the family when ISIS kicked them out. Shirkahn told me that he hadn’t eaten for four days.”
He asked: ‘How can I be a missionary like you and go help people?’
Members of the ministry team prayed with him and asked if they could visit his family and pray for his father. He took them to their tent on the street. “We talked to the mother; we talked to the father. We prayed with them. We said Jesus can heal, and they immediately gave their hearts to the Lord. Shirkhan was very touched and asked ‘How can I be a missionary like you and go help people?’ He surrendered his life to the Lord.”
Ministries bring the refugees supplies to meet the cold of winter. Those who come to Christ are connected to tent churches. People of varied backgrounds and ethnicities meet together for worship and instruction in Kurdish and Arabic. “With the Yazadis, most of the women were taken,” the ministry director said. “A lot of people went through hard times and are broken-hearted.”
One day a team from the ministry was distributing aid and strayed into an ISIS area. They realized their error when an ISIS associate began asking them what they were doing there. “We said we were giving some help to these people. He said, ‘Yes, but I see your car has Bibles in it and Christian materials.’ We said, ‘We work with a church and we give these away. But we will leave now if you want.’ He replied, ‘Why do you give all these people Bibles, and you don’t give one to me?’ So we gave him a Bible, and we started to tell him stories about the Lord.”
Please pray that more Yazidis and Muslims in the area come to know Jesus Christ as their savior. Also pray for the safety of Christian workers in the region.
There are many Christian initiatives that provide relief to migrants.
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