by Gary Fairchild, CAMA’s director of Global Disaster Response
It was a cold, rainy, windy day in Kurdistan when we delivered emergency food supplies to the camp of Yazidi internally displaced persons (IDPs). Several inches of snow had fallen two days before, and the ground was muddy and slippery.
After the packets were distributed to the 60 families, we and a group of five or six men gathered around a kerosene heater in a low tent. The cold ground was covered by several thick carpets. Carpets also hung on the walls, tied together at the corners.
How Can We Feel Safe?
“Something is broken,” one of them said. “We lived beside our neighbors for 30 years, our friends. Then they betrayed us to ISIS. They killed 80 women in our village and took many of the rest as hostages.”
(In reality, these women are not only being held as hostages; they are being sold as sex slaves through sickening smartphone apps.)
“We can never return,” another told us. “How can we feel safe again?”
In God’s Providence
The Yazidis have a reason to be afraid. Being one of Iraq’s oldest minority groups, non-Muslim, and about 500,000 in population, they were targeted by ISIS almost immediately. And the Yazidis have suffered unspeakable and horrific harm in their hands.
Thousands have been murdered, many of the girls and women raped, and an estimated 3,000 women are still held captive as sex slaves. The other half of the population fled for their lives to Dohuk and nearby areas.
Yet in God’s providence, there is an Alliance church right there in Dohuk.
The Local Church
The church has reached out to hundreds of these hurting families each month providing food and other aid. The local pastor—and CAMA’s partner—speaks their dialect and spends time listening to their stories, empathizing with their loss, praying for them, and telling them stories of hope from the Bible.
The pastor, church members, and two assistants hired by CAMA try to rebuild the people’s ability to trust by always telling them the truth if they can help them or not. And when they say they will deliver something, they also do it.
Pray for the pastors and church members who spend time each week with Yazidis displaced by terrorism. The needs are great, and hearts are open for this season. The opportunity and responsibility is ours to respond.
Make a Difference
You can help even more Yazidis to receive spiritual, physical, and emotional support when you give a year-end gift to The Alliance. Watch this video and visit the Year-End web page to learn more.