The Shepherd Society, the humanitarian arm of Bethlehem Bible College, sent another team to Jordan to serve among the Iraqi and Syrian refugees. This report will focus on the ministry of the team among the Iraqi refugees in Amman. Many Iraqi refugees in Amman are Christians from well-to-do families. After IS (Islamic State) radical fighters attacked their towns and villages, they lost everything. Our team went to serve among those who survived the terror and ran to Amman. The team served under the supervision of Global Hope Network International to provide the refugees with emergency assistance, counseling and spiritual encouragement.
On March 3, the team left Bethlehem Bible College at 9:30 am and arrived in Jordan at around 4:00 pm. Although the team members were physically tired after seven hours of travel, they were highly motivated. They decided to start the ministry the same evening by packing food parcels and preparing them for distribution to Iraqi families the next day. At night, the team worshiped with Iraqi people in the Alliance Church in Amman. The Iraqi Christians that we met were filled with the Holy Spirit, rejoicing and singing and clapping hands to the Lord in the midst of their suffering. Our team members were blessed by them.
Our visits to the Iraqi families were a blessing for us and for them as well. We were blessed by their faith that was blossoming in the midst of their suffering. In addition, they told us that they were blessed to have Palestinian believers in Christ who continue to suffer from occupation and injustice to come and to minister the love of God to them.
During our stay in Amman, a student from Bethlehem Bible College who had been healed from cancer encouraged the Iraqis that our Lord is able to turn the impossible to possible.
Some of the families that our team visited gave thanks to the Lord for the circumstances they are passing through that brought them to the Lord. Others said that they used to go to church in Iraq only during the feasts and holy days, but now in Jordan the Lord has become their life.
Some of Their Stories:
The main reason for the persecution of these Iraqi Christians is their faith. These are some of the stories that our Iraqi brothers and sisters shared with us:
An Iraqi Christian widow came to the Global Hope Network International office, and told us that her husband had died in Iraq and the owner of the apartment where she and her only son lived came to her and wanted to marry her by force. When she refused, the owner kidnapped her son. One of the neighbors in the building heard the son crying in the house of the owner. The neighbor succeeded in rescuing the son, and he recommended that the widow leave Iraq with her son as soon as possible, otherwise her son’s life would be in danger.
A scenario similar to this story happened with an Iraqi man in his sixties who escaped with his 20-year-old daughter to Jordan when he was threatened by fanatic gangs that they would marry his daughter by force.
Members of many of the families were scattered between Iraq and Jordan, and others had lost communications with their relatives. One such family consists of three persons; the mother, her son and his wife were separated and became refugees three times in Iraq until they were reunited in Jordan.
An Iraqi girl went to visit her grandmother and aunt in Al-Mosul. While she was visiting there, the city of Al-Mosul was attacked by the radicals, and communication with her family was cut off. She did not know whether they were alive or dead. The grandmother (in her seventies), and the aunt (who is disabled, suffers from asthma, and is in her fifties) came to Jordan to unite with the granddaughter but had no where to go. An Iraqi guy who came with his family to Jordan earlier saw them in the streets of Amman. He sympathized with them, and although he is very poor and lives with his family in an unhealthy home, he took them to his home to live with his family. He told his wife that those three women have become part of our family and we will share our living with them.
We left Amman, moved by the faith of our Iraqi brothers and sisters and by their resilience in the face of severe persecution. We call on all of our friends around the world to pray for all the Iraqi and Syrian refugees and to ask the Lord to put an end to the violence that causes them such anguish.
The Shepherd Society