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"Mosul is the most fundamental Islamic city in all of Iraq. ISIS is rising again in Iraq and in Mosul city specifcally."
I heard this shocking statement from a local pastor on my last trip into Iraq.
To help us understand, it’s important to remember ISIS is not just an organization; it’s a set of ideas, a system of beliefs. It’s not limited within the confines of an army or the territory of a nation. Therefore, it’s difficult to control, attack or defend against. The recent, tragic bombings in Sri Lanka are a testament to this.
When we hear on the news, “Mosul has been liberated from ISIS”, what this really means is that the formal, physical formation of their fighting forces has disappeared. Some may have left, but others have slipped back into the shadows of everyday life. It doesn’t mean ISIS doesn’t exist. It still does – especially in Mosul.
One of the challenges the Church faces working in Mosul today is not knowing who is an ISIS supporter and who is not. It’s even a challenge for us to get pictures and video to be able to report back to you.
The people we serve and the ministry teams are becoming more careful and sensitive as the situation in Mosul remains risky. Their neighbor could be part of ISIS or friendly toward the ISIS ideology. The people we serve are skeptical to let their photos be shared. Nonetheless, the work continues.
The last day before Mosul, Iraq was “officially liberated” from ISIS, an ISIS bomb hit the home of Qadira, one of the ladies we’re able to help reach. The bomb killed six in her family, her husband and five of her children. She found her 10-year-old daughter, her only child to survive, lying on her neighbor’s roof.
The last time the outreach team arrived Qadira was crying and said, “God sent you today. I want to go to the grave and see my husband and my children.” She was crying, mad, and screaming as she continues to be confronted with the tragedy that struck just about a year ago.
The team leader shared with her, “Jesus loves you, and the devil is entering your mind.” She encouraged the lady to tell the bad thoughts to go away in the name of Jesus. The next time the team visited her home this woman was so encouraged how this advice had helped her. She didn’t want the team to leave. She continues asking questions about Jesus.
The mission in reaching these families in Mosul is simple – to let them see Jesus in us. Your giving makes this possible. When you give to World Compassion, you’re showing these widows and families God’s love by meeting their physical needs. You’re opening the door for Jesus to make Himself real to them. This is an effective form of evangelism in a spiritually dangerous environment.
Maja, a 15-year-old girl, was ecstatic when she found an outreach team had shown up with some shampoo. She shouted, “Auntie is there shampoo in the basket?” “Yes,” her aunt replied. Maja let her know, “It’s for me. Don’t touch it… The shampoo is for me.”
Shampoo, something most of us probably take for granted, brought joy to this girl. It was something important to her. Something she didn’t have but now does. When God’s Church shows up to meet the needs of people, He can use the gift of shampoo to show a 15-year-old girl that He loves her, that He is mindful of her and wants to bring healing to her soul.
You may not go to Iraq and minister to Maja, but your giving is ministering to her. Shampoo, bread, or medicine may be the gift you help provide that opens the door for your brothers and sisters from a local church to enter a home with the Gospel message. Your gift may be what opens a Muslim’s heart to Jesus.
One widow in Mosul commented, “You bring joy to our home. These things you bring we can not buy!”
One of the ladies on the ministry team shared, “We feel the words of God we share are reaching them. We share that God loves them. That’s why we are here. We teach them to love their friends and even love their enemies.”
Will you help us share the Gospel in Mosul? As one of the most spiritually dark and dangerous cities in the Middle East, we must continue to find ways to reach the people. Your giving is empowering teams to visit Mosul several times a week, providing basic care packages as well as helping with situational needs such as medicine, doctor’s visits and home repairs.
A gift of $100 (£80) helps provide a care package with food, toiletries, diapers and more along with transportation for ministry teams and typically one other situational need for a widow and her children in Mosul every month. Most importantly your gift opens the door to share the message of Jesus.
I was recently reminded of Proverbs 19:17, which says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD–and he will repay you!” Helping the poor is so close to the heart of God that He personally promises to repay us! I share this not to motivate you for what you will get in return but to show you how important it is to God that we work with Him to reach those who need help.
God is looking to work with us. Could you give $100 (£80) to reach a widow and her children in Mosul? Maybe you can give $25 (£20) partnered with 3 others. You might have the ability to reach five families this month for $500 (£400).
The teams are ready and willing. We can serve hundreds of widows and other families on a monthly basis. They need help and are open to Christians as many of the mosques are not providing assistance. This is a time where we can again sow seed into the hearts of many that one day may reap a harvest of souls.
I know you are busy and your time is valuable, but would you please take a minute right now to pray for these ladies, the safety and wisdom of the ministry teams and also ask God what He would have you give?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, to pray and to continue standing with the Church in nations hostile to the Gospel.
President of World Compassion