Update for the Iraq Appeal: Solidarity with Christians in Iraq - April 2015
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
(In March I was with a small team from The Outreach Foundation who had traveled to the Kurdish controlled areas of northern Iraq. The purpose of the trip was to visit partners – especially the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk – who have been receiving funds from The Outreach Foundation for their ministry with Iraqis who had been displaced by ISIS from Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain.)
A three hour drive north of Erbil, not far from Dohuk, is a camp set up for some of the 23,000 Yazidis who had been driven from the city of Sinjar, north of Mosul, by ISIS. You can all probably remember the scenes (like the one to the left) of these beleaguered souls – almost 50,000 of them – who had sought refuge at the top of a mountain last August awaiting rescue. Several thousand men had been killed and young girls were taken as sex slaves...it is a staggeringly evil story.
Late last fall The Outreach Foundation was contacted by Rev. Wagih Abdulmassih, a London-based pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Egypt who was working with a local pastor setting up small bread making facilities in the camps. Through the generous gifts to the "Iraq Appeal," Outreach was able to fund one of these bread making facilities, which we visited. Aptly named the “Bread of Life Bakery” it employs mostly women from the camp and efficiently churns out thousands of flatbreads every day with flour supplied by aid organizations. Families are registered and send their (exuberant) children to pick up a daily supply which is based upon the number of people in their respective tents.
Because of this much needed humanitarian work, the local church has also been allowed to offer sports ministries and other outreach (even Bible study!) which is quietly and effectively making Christ known. Someone shared with us that one of the reasons why the local Muslim government is so open to the Christian presence in the camp is that it is believed that before a Yazidi can become a Muslim, they have to become a Christian first (a transition, as it were). Well, bring 'em in, Lord, bring 'em in – and we know that you will not let them go!
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development
The Outreach Foundation will continue to receive gifts in support of our major Iraqi partner – the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Iraq – as well as several other Christian partners in the region. Checks should be noted “Iraq Relief” and mailed to The Outreach Foundation, 381 Riverside Drive Suite 110, Franklin, TN 37064. Or make an online gift by clicking HERE and selecting "Iraq Appeal" under Designation.