Praying for the Yazidi in Northern Iraq

March 8, 2018 • Iraq
Sewing is one of the livelihood projects offered at the Northern Iraq Community Center.
Evan Collier is a Samaritan’s Purse intern in Iraq.

The Northern Iraq Community Center is nestled alongside an internally displaced persons camp. The camp is home to more than 40,000 Yazidi people who have sought refuge from extensive persecution in Sinjar and Ninewa provinces.

The Samaritan’s Purse team at the community center hosts a variety of programs and services to serve displaced people who have suffered personally from ISIS. We provide children with a place to play and classes to help them process the trauma they have experienced. In addition, adults are taught carpentry, sewing, and other skills that help them find new ways to provide for their families. Our staff are dedicated to sharing Christ’s love with these displaced people.

As I walked among plastic tarp tents in the camp, I was struck with a sobering acknowledgement of the pain and hardships so many have experienced—something I knew little about. Yet, there remained a sense of perseverance and resilience. There was still laughter and smiles on the faces of children and youth.

I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 1:4-5, which states that God “comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”

The trauma counseling team meets with beneficiaries at the community center and in the camps to hear their stories and needs. The team works to reduce mental illness and to prevent suicide by providing access to basic needs and medications.

During one of the site visits, I accompanied two members of our counseling team to meet with a family living in the camp. We met Selma, a 9-year-old who is suffering from kidney failure. She sat quietly by her father’s side as he recounted what she has had to endure.

Selma needs regular hospital visits and a kidney transplant, but her family has no money to make this happen. The father is unable to find work. They had to sell the family car. They do not even have enough money to buy food.

I was overcome with emotion as I silently prayed over Selma. As we drove away, the team sat quietly in the van. We know that many more in the camp are also facing very difficult situations.

During these trials, we pray that we can demonstrate God’s love to hurting people. I pray that our staff at the Northern Iraq Community Center will have opportunity to continue serving Selma and the Yazidi people with Christ’s compassion as we “seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, and plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

I am praying for Selma, and I ask that you join me.

Northern Iraq
Northern Iraq Projects Samaritan's Purse continues to help meet the long-term physical and spiritual needs of those displaced by ISIS. Among our projects, we are offering a variety of livelihoods programs to assist the Yazidi people, and we have set up child-friendly spaces for boys and girls to learn and grow while staying in camps as well. We are also facilitating the return of Christian families to their homes and churches in the Plains of Nineveh. They need our help to repair damage, replace doors, windows, and fixtures, and paint over ISIS graffiti as they reclaim their towns in the Name of Jesus.

Northern Iraq Projects 013929