Rise from the Ruins

September 20, 2017 • Iraq

Christian Iraqis are returning home to areas once held by ISIS. They are finding destruction but also help from Samaritan's Purse as we help communities rebuild.

Northern Iraq Projects

Update: On Sept. 16-17, Samaritan’s Purse celebrated with 10 Christian families as we completed our first home restorations in Qaraqosh, Iraq.  A widow named Miriam* and her daughter Athra* were grateful to be among them.

Christians return to area once held by ISIS> Miriam and Athra are now back in Qaraqosh.

Miriam and Athra are now back in Qaraqosh.

As ISIS burned most homes in their neighborhood and desecrated their belongings, they also broke the frame that held a photo of Miriam’s late husband, a taxi driver murdered in 2007. Now amid the newly painted walls, a frame bearing the photo of her husband sits on the nightstand in her and her daughter’s bedroom.
“I give thanks to God,” Miriam said. “He brought you here to help me rebuild my home.” 
Now that they are settled again, mother and daughter remain alert. Looting remains a problem in the area so they take turns guarding the home at night while the other sleeps. Still, Miriam’s trust in Christ remains resolute: “They can destroy our church and our homes, but they cannot destroy our faith.”

Please pray for these families as they begin to rebuild their lives. Samaritan’s Purse is now identifying the next 10 families we will resettle.

In the summer of 2014, ISIS terrorists drove out Christian believers, desecrated churches, and gutted or destroyed hundreds of houses on the Nineveh Plains of Iraq.

Franklin Graham was in Iraq earlier this year to see the destruction.

Franklin Graham was in Iraq earlier this year to see the destruction in traditionally Christian towns.

Three years later as the battle for Mosul still raged, one Christian homeowner, Yousif*, returned to explore the remains of his house—just 15 miles from the fighting. Walking through the destruction, he remembers precious family times that once took place there.

“Your life is connected to your house,” he said. “When they burn your house, they burn your life, they burn your soul.”

Still, Yousif thanks God that his entire family was spared.

As bombs exploded in the distance, he also visited the site of his former church, discovering portions of charred Scripture in the rubble that offer hope: “You will become sad, but your sadness will become joy” (John 16:20, paraphrased). Yousif takes this to heart and makes a promise that he will rebuild.

A burned portion of Scripture.

A burned portion of Scripture.

Now that Iraqi forces have liberated the area from the death grip of Islamic militants, Christians are eager to return to the places their ancestors have lived for centuries. They need our help to repair damage, replace doors, windows, and fixtures, and paint over ISIS graffiti as they reclaim their town in the Name of Jesus.

Through the gifts and prayers of people like you, Samaritan’s Purse is helping families resettle in the Plains of Nineveh, so that traditionally Christian towns will once again be a light for the Gospel in the heart of the Middle East.

*Names changed to protect identity.

Northern Iraq
Northern Iraq Projects Samaritan’s Purse has established an emergency trauma field hospital to treat those injured in the conflict between Iraqi and coalition forces and ISIS militants in Mosul. We are also distributing desperately needed food and non-food relief items to many of the more than 330,000 people displaced by this conflict since October 2016. We also continue to help meet the long-term physical and spiritual needs of impoverished families whose lives were disrupted by the rapid advance of ISIS in 2014.

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