This blog was written by Alice, an Open Doors Australia worker.
At just seven years old, Miriam and her mother were left to care for six children under the age of seven.
Recently I returned from the Horn of Africa meeting persecuted Christians. Meeting Miriam was an experience that impacted my whole outlook on the global church – the Body of Christ.
Miriam is 17 years old.
She grew up in a Muslim village as the eldest of seven children. She shared with me memories of her childhood that I’m sure are not too different to many of us; she spoke about the fact that she was very close to her dad, and loved spending time with him. She remembered her dad talking about Jesus, and reaching out to Muslims in their community. Continue reading
Ghazan was a successful business owner, he owned a transportation company. That was back in his home town, on the Nineveh Plain in Iraq. He left his home when Islamic State forced them out. Now, the 47-year-old father of three works at a bakery in Erbil.
The first person you see when you walk down this busy shopping street is Ghazan. With his head sticking through the shop window, he is waiting for his next customer. When a customer arrives he skilfuly fills a plastic bag with ‘samoon’, traditional Iraqi bread. “Please try some!” he says. Anyone would think he had been a baker his whole life!
Ghazan in the window of the bakery.
When Michael was killed for his faith, he left behind his wife, Meskele, and 6 young children. Hear Meskele’s story of faith and hope in the midst of persecution.
“I love God. God also loves me. I know that He feeds my spirit and gives me what I need.” – Miriam, Meskele’s daughter.
You can help Christians like Meskele and Miriam though Walk to Water.
What happened the day that riots overtook Niger and terror devastated a small Christian community?
Early in 2015, a French satirical magazine (Charlie Hebdo) published a controversial cartoon, which triggered an attack on their office in Paris, France, where 11 people were killed. As two million gathered in Paris in a peaceful show of national unity, the event set off a ripple effect across the Muslim world, including in Niger where rioters lashed out at the closest thing they associated with the West – the church. Rioters killed three Christians, burned and looted 76 churches and Christian institutions and 50 Christian homes. Open Doors field workers met with and supported many who were effected.
Here are some of the pastors stories…
The church in Iraq is disappearing, with more than 70% of the Christian population having left the country over the last 15 years. It’s estimated that there are only 250,000 Christians left in Iraq, over half of them are displaced.
This situation will take generations to heal and rebuild. Open Doors were working with the church in Iraq well before the rise of the Islamic State and, God willing, will be there for many years to come.
We want to help strengthen the church in Iraq, so for the month of August we are asking for donations to Iraq. We have a goal of $200,000 and need your help to reach this goal. Click here to donate to the Iraq Appeal.
Your donation to our Iraq Appeal will support Christians with things like:
1. Emergency Relief (Food, Healthcare & Housing)
Food and hygiene packs for Iraqi IDPs.
Through local partners and churches, Open Doors distributes food/hygiene packages to about 15,000 displaced Christian families (about 75,000 people) each month. Providing quality food, clean water, sanitation and healthcare is the first step in ensuring the survival of the church. Continue reading
On 24 June, an engagement ceremony in Iran was raided by security agents. While ten people were initially arrested, all but four were released.
UPDATE 9 November 2016: Relatives and friends of three Christians from Azerbaijan and an Iranian Christian are delighted to report that they have all been released from prison on bail, and the Azerbaijanis were able to travel back home on the 6th of November.
The four men were kept in solitary confinement for two months and interrogated. Their whereabouts were not made known, to the concern of family members. They were refused access to consular assistance or legal counsel during the initial period of their detention. In September they were transferred out of solitary confinement to shared cells in Ward 350 in Evin Prison, much to their mutual encouragement. They face charges of engaging in missionary activity and propaganda against the regime, but it is hoped that they will be acquitted of these charges.