Last week the war came closer than expected. Right here in Colorado, my wife and I were introduced to an incredible Christian woman who sought refuge in the States years ago from Al Qaeda terrorists. Then, just last year, the rest of her family in Iraq had to flee ISIS’s brutal terrorism. I saw the distress in her eyes as she told us the conditions her family now lives under. But what I saw most was her sacrificial heart. She sends all the resources she can to offer them hope. This is a woman who is desperate to see her family rescued.
I have to ask myself, do I share this same desperate passion? How would I respond to the crisis if it were my relatives suffering?
Jesus, may we fight for your bride like we would fight for our own loved ones, because in you they are family!
I know many of you have the deep burden I’m talking about. I’ve seen your sacrificial gifts and read your heartfelt prayers. It’s an honor for me to be in battle next to you. This month I want to share a story straight from the frontlines in Iraq. I hope it will give you a glimpse of the families you help rescue every day.
Uneasiness spread over Lydia as she walked her narrow street in Northern Iraq. Lately the neighborhood had been full of anxious adults. The local fighters, called the Peshmerga, had suddenly withdrawn from the combat lines just outside the city, retreating from an enemy they called ISIS. Now that the fighters were gone, many of her neighbors talked of leaving.
Lydia called out to her brother Titus standing at the end of the block. His gaze had shifted to something around the corner, which she couldn’t see. A sudden wave of fear washed over her as she watched her brother’s eyes widen in an expression somewhere between shock and horror.
Lydia felt more than heard the first mortar explosion. But as the second and third shells slammed into the street’s storefronts, her head suddenly rang out in pain. She covered her ears in a desperate attempt to silence the horrible scene before her. All around her the buildings began raining down dust and debris. Neighbors suddenly appeared, running from door to door looking for loved ones. Lydia whirled around, frantic to find her own family, and froze at the sight before her. There on the far side of the street lay her brother, motionless and covered in dust.
Another mortar exploded to her right, throwing her violently from her feet as shards of shrapnel penetrated her legs and side. The last thing she remembered before her world went black was the sight of her father scooping her up and running for cover. In the protection of his strong arms, she let the foggy darkness envelop her.
But Lydia’s story was far from over…
Alpha Relief supports local Christians who found Lydia‘s family last year in a makeshift refugee shelter. Her father told of their narrow escape after the Peshmerga fighters retreated to safer strongholds. ISIS had quickly overtaken the defenseless city, firing mortars ahead of their arrival. Alongside many other families, Lydia’s had fled with nothing more then the clothes on their backs. They had arrived homeless, hungry, and grieving over the deaths in their family. Although Lydia sustained serious injuries from the blast, she was able to receive the medical attention she needed. Her family was moved to better living arrangements and offered life-sustaining aid. Though they have experienced a heavy loss, the family now has hope.
Call to Respond:
Thousands of families just like Lydia’s are still frantically trying to put their lives back together after ISIS attacks. Through local pastors and missionaries, Alpha Relief now has access to hurting believers in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and other secret Middle Eastern locations. These are amazing open doors, but we need desperately passionate supporters like you to continue uplifting the cause of our extended family.
We set a goal of $100,000 toward Rescue and Relief at the beginning of the summer. We have already made a good sized dent in that figure, but still have a long way to go. If the Lord is leading you, would you consider continuing the fight to ensure our persecuted family is provided hope?