Nearly 200 Iraqi Christian families are preparing to return to their homes in Mosul following the defeat of the Islamic State.
According to Father Adel, a pastor in Mosul, 45,000 Christians lived in the city before conflict with the Islamic State began. But since Mosul’s liberation in 2017, most Christians have chosen never to return. Currently there are only 50 Christian families living in the city.
The Christian population is on the edge of extinction.
Over years of ISIS occupation, extremists destroyed much of the city and left messages on its walls such as, “Land of the Caliphate”.
Today, other messages can be heard. A group of local volunteers has been clearing rubble from the Syriac Catholic St Thomas Church. “This is a message to say, ‘Come back! Mosul is not complete without you,’” said Mohammed Essam, co-founder of the group.
They have since distributed food and raised funds to help rebuild the homes of believers struck hardest by extremists. “We want to say that Christians belong here. That they have a rich history here,” Essam said. It is a rare initiative in a country where Christians are struggling to survive.
“Our presence is salt in this region,” a local church leader told media after recently returning to Mosul.
“Our presence in this country is not only religious, it’s also educational. We have the mission of creating a peaceful atmosphere in this country, demonstrating with the testimony of our faith, love and serenity, that there are ways of living that go beyond violence and war.”
While some families return, many more choose to stay away. Please pray for Iraqi Christians.
Pray For Iraq:
- Praise God for the courage of families choosing to return to a region torn apart by conflict.
- Praise God that even in the face of the most extreme forms of persecution, His Church remains in Iraq..
- Pray Christians in Iraq will be the light of Jesus the country desperately needs. Pray for their strength and perseverance.
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