What does Christmas look like for children of the persecuted church?
For many, Christmas is a special time to gather with family and friends to honour the birth of Jesus. But for some persecuted Christians, there will be empty seats at the table, meant to be filled by loved ones. Christmas is a reminder of the price they pay to follow Jesus.
The Day That Changed It All
When 11-year-old Rafif’s dad went out to the shops near their local university in Mosul, Iraq, she had no idea this journey would be his last. As he went, he spotted something strange – explosives ready to detonate near the arrival place of a bus carrying Christian students.
“When he saw the bomb, he ran towards the bus and shouted and waved at them,” Rafif said. “He told them, ‘Don’t move or we will all be dead.’”
The bus came to a stop just as the bomb exploded. Because of his heroic actions, just one student on the bus died. But Rafif’s father paid with his life.
“I miss my dad,” Rafif said. “Especially when I hear my friends talk and say, ‘My dad did this with me, my dad brought me that’.
“I have asked God, ‘Why did you take my father away? Why did you do this?’”