Over the last few months, thousands of Christian refugees have fled to the city of Erbil, many relying on the church for sanctuary. But how are local churches bearing up to the influx?
In the suburb of Ankawa, Father Douglas manages to carry on church life amidst a sea of refugee tents. He knows what it’s like to experience trauma, having himself survived being kidnapped while leading a church in Baghdad years ago.
Father Douglas’ church hall is one of many church and school buildings doubling as a sanctuary in Erbil. In Ankawa, morning prayers are held every day at 10am and church life continues with services, weddings and funerals. But dotted around the church is a collection of grey, brown, white and green tents – donated by an array of different organisations. The tents have become home to 700 families from Mosul, Karamlesh, Qaraqosh Continue reading
The Bible gives us more direction for our prayers than we often realise. Here are five Bible verses from the Gospels which are very encouraging to pray for our North Korean brothers and sisters, especially as they go through rough storms.
Young North Korean girls. (Indicative only)
1.‘Lord, calm the storm.’
“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39)
Leader Kim Jong-Un has unleashed a storm of persecution and oppression on Christians and everyone else he considers as his political enemies. In recent months, over 10,000 people were either killed, incarcerated in prisons and camps or banished to closed villages, Continue reading
Today, 10 September, marks 150 days since the attack on the Chibok Government Secondary School that saw around 275 girls abducted. Although 47 of these girls were able to escape either during their abduction or shortly after their arrival at the camp where they were being held, no others have been able to find their way home.
One of the girls abducted by Boko Haram on 14 April from the town of Chibok in Nigeria.
Dr Stephen Davis, an Australian cleric was appointed as presidential envoy in the negotiations with Boko Haram. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) following the reports that nobody knew where the girls were, he decided to reach out to contacts he had built up in the years he worked as trouble-shooter for oil and gas company Shell in the Niger Delta. Continue reading
When IS captured Mosul on June 10th the most devastating part of its seizure was its outright targeting of all non-Sunni Muslim groups. This has resulted in a mass loss of life, forced conversions and seizure of homes for Iraq’s minority Christians, Shia Muslims, Yazidis and Turkmen.
Since then, IS has steadily moved north of Mosul into the Nineveh Plain, a predominantly Christian area. In total, more than 100,000 people have had to flee the villages and towns of Qaraqosh, Mosul and the Nineveh plain.
Three Assyrian Christians starve to death
The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reports that the bodies of George David and his son Saad David were recently found by their Muslim neighbour at their home in Bashiqa. The town is historically an Assyrian Christian village in the Nineveh Plain, but is now occupied by Islamic State (IS).
The neighbour noticed an unusual smell, so he entered their home where he found the bodies, and then buried them at a church. According to AINA, he suspected that since both the father and son were deaf and mute they may not have known to leave after IS entered the town. Also in Bashiqa, the body of a 70-year-old Assyrian Christian man was found slumped over in his chair at home.
According to AINA it is believed that all three died from starvation. Continue reading