A report from the Rev. Jerry Kramer on his visit this week to Christian refugees in Kurdistan.
“Tell the world of our suffering! You might not have luck with the White House. But tell the Christians in America!”
Dearest Praying Friends, We are safely in Istanbul. Thank you to all who prayed and gave so generously. Yesterday was a bit hairy, we came within a few miles of ISIS and the fighting. We began our journey early in the morning and arrived here at 3am.
Right now we’re processing all that we saw and experienced firsthand. Honestly, we don’t have the words at the moment. The suffering is so immense. The magnitude of the disaster is beyond comprehension.
Christians were given 48 hours to leave their homes. Some paid to stay or converted to Islam. They were all crucified, beheaded or shot. Those who left were stripped of all their possessions, allowed to leave with only the clothes on their backs. Now they have absolutely nothing and cannot return home. Isis has destroyed their villages and placed landmines all around.
“The Americans are here! I told my people you would come! I told them! You believe in God. We believe in God! Americans no afraid die. This is a BIG encouragement for my little people.” — Mayor of Hawrysk
The Christians are not in camps. They have scattered to villages and family all across the region. The average village is overflowing with refugees. They need food. They have no clothes. They need heaters and cookers. It will soon be bitter cold. Relief is NOT getting to them.
These people are in total shock. They have lost everything. They want to go home and can’t. Some were betrayed by their Muslim neighbours with whom they lived for generations. Their neighbours called in ISIS, giving their location away, to come and exterminate them. The hurt runs very deep. If you hug a refugee for more than 3 seconds, they break down and cry.
“Why save us from the mountains and villages just to starve to death now?”
What can we do? We can love the one in front of us. If “Christians” in America — just a small percentage of us — would love one refugee family, we could help them all. If churches will actually care and do something, we can bring light to the darkness, alleviate horrific suffering and advance the Kingdom in this region.
The crisis is so massive that one organisation is not going to get it done. No chance. It’s going to take a network of small front line relief operations. We’ve learned from our Katrina experience that small, grassroots is always better. Also, it’s ideal to support the local Church in its ministry. Help them help themselves and their communities. In this way we are pouring into the local Church for the long term.
Right now the people are OPEN to the Gospel!!! Even in the midst of this incredible suffering, God is moving. The pastors are united like never before. God is appearing to the Muslims in dreams and visions. The displaced Christians have more boldness and are caring for Muslims and Yazidi with the little they have!
We are partnering with a group of local pastors who are working directly in the packed, suffering villages. $50 will feed a family for a month. $50 will buy a kerosene heater and cooker. They are desperate for clothes, especially winter clothes. The children need schools. $3,000 will build a house for a family: How many can your church build?
We delivered every penny you sent over with us. Heaters/Cookers and Arabic Bibles were provided for the refuges. And we put on an early Christmas celebration for the children of one village. We were also able to pray for and comfort many.
We are eager to tell the story in the U.S and then return as soon as possible. Our plan is to locate ourselves in one of the villages — about six miles from the Mosul Dam — and work with the emerging local Church network. We will help on the front lines with this effort if you are willing to join us in what God is doing. Love One.
If you’d like more details, please contact us directly. We can connect you directly to what God is doing through His people on the front-lines. We can provide photos. We can provide names of families and their details. Please share this! Rally your friends. GET YOUR CHURCH INVOLVED! We need to act as a Body . . . NOW! Be a CHAMPION! We need you to speak for them and rally the Church for them!!!
Love looks like something. What does it look like from YOU to THEM? Please . . . we are on our knees begging for them.
And pray for the broken Body of Christ, our brothers and sisters in their time of need.
In His Love for the Least,
jerry+ and Stacy
Missionary Support Services
Attn: Love for the Least
P.O. Box 30428
Charlotte, NC 28230