An estimated 1.2 million have been displaced this year. For many, it was not the first time.
Fortunately, the Kurdistan region of Iraq has not closed its borders to refugees. Officials say at least 45,000 Iraqis have fled there to escape Islamic State fighters. Iraqi Kurdistan is already home to more than 300,000 displaced Iraqis, along with 220,000 Syrian refugees.
A local worker described one church hall where 200 families were lined wall to wall. Two babies were said to have been born there. A church in Irbil was helping 260 families, 216 of them staying in the church courtyard.
Many local Christians spend most of their days distributing aid and sharing Christ with the residents of refugee camps. “In a crisis like this, we are experiencing a time of revival and awakening everywhere,” reported a ministry leader. “God is not just moving people geographically; He is moving in their hearts as well.”
Norya is a Syrian refugee who lost her husband and five children when a rocket fired by Syrian government forces toward the terrorists landed on her house. She found Christ in a refugee camp. "She now sings hymns with us at our church group meetings.”
In the Kurdish town of Akra, some of the displaced are living in a former prison. Each bathroom is shared by approximately 10 families.
It was in a tented refugee camp in that town that workers came across Abu Mustafa, a 50-year-old man whose wife had been killed. He has three girls with cerebral atrophy. He blamed God for his tragic situation, but allowed the workers to read the Bible to him and pray for him.
“This is the first time I feel relief,” he told the workers. “For three years, I couldn’t smile or feel safe, but now I feel differently. I have peace in my heart. Please pray for my girls. I believe Jesus can heal them and heal me from the inside.” He calls the workers daily to ask when they will visit him again.
The Red Cross is appealing for funds to buy tents, blankets and food. Open Doors is appealing for funds to provide relief.
Remember those in need.