Syria, Ukraine, and now Iraq have all erupted into violence and war.
Refugees are pouring over the borders seeking relief and peace from the constant pounding of war drums. One group in particular has recently grabbed the attention of the media: Yezidi. This is a now displaced people group who formerly made their home in Northern Iraq. They are neither Christian nor Muslim but rather practice a version of Zoroastrianism. While they have a long history of persecution, until recently they had been living in relative peace with their Muslim neighbors. Then ISIS emerged in the region with their militant tactics to create a pure Islamic state. Neighbor turned on neighbor, killing the Yezidi in their homes. Now they are running for their lives across Northern Iraq.
Thousands have made it across the border into Southeast Turkey and refugee camps are quickly sprouting up, filled with traumatized and devastated Yezidis. Many of them witnessed terrible atrocities carried out on their own neighbors and family; all of them were terrified for their lives. One Yezidi man told me that he and his family had run for 14 hours straight.
Having fled from one Muslim country to another, the Yezidi are not sure who they can trust. Once we told them we were Christians, we could see them visibly relax, take a breath, and begin to open their hearts to us. We are apparently the only ones they feel they can trust. We have the opportunity to reach these people with physical aid and demonstrate Jesus’ love.
Winter is fast approaching. Within one month temperatures will drop and rain and snowfall will increase. Some of the refugee camps have nothing more than a mat in an open park to offer. With an average family size of 8, a significant percentage of the refugees are children.
The need is tremendous and imminent, but greater is the One who is living in us. We are moving forward in faith that God can meet all needs and it will be done for His glory. May His Name be honored as the giver of all good gifts among these people who are broken.
￼We need to raise $500,000 to provide the following for the Yezidis:
1. Winterized shelters
2. Electric heaters
4. Warm clothing and shoes
Funds will be administered through the Turkish Protestant Churches Association (TeK) and will be used to assist refugees from Iraq and Syria.
Please pray for the traumatized and desperate Iraqis, Yezidis, Syrians and other peoples who have lost family, witnessed and experienced horrors and are crying out for help. Pray God would redeem these terrible things for everlasting goodness. Pray that God would unify and bring synergy to all those working towards relieving suffering and rising to the opportunity to minister to hundreds of thousands of desperate people. Pray for the relationship between workers like us and the Turkish church. Pray against the possible bureaucratic and political barriers to relief and ministry. Pray for protection and against the extensive ISIS recruitment that is taking place here in Turkey.