Three Ways To Help The Christians In Iraq


Saysomething


Something has been weighing on my heart over the last week, and I felt like I needed to write about it today.

I'm sure many of you are aware of what is happening right now in Iraq and Syria.  But for those of you don't know, a militant Islamic organization called Isis has been taking over many cities in Iraq and Syria.  Many minorities, including Christians, are being driven out of their homes, and people are being captured and forced to convert to Islam.  If they refuse, they are being beheaded.

The media has been picking up on this and reporting more on it, especially since a reporter, James Foley, was captured and beheaded by this same group.  But what has been somewhat disturbing to me is how little I have seen about this on social media.

I remember when the Tsunami hit in Haiti, and how many blog posts I read about that.  I read even more blog posts and tweets about some of the shootings that have occurred in recent years.  These things were tragedies, and they certainly deserved the attention they received.  And I imagine part of the response was due to the extensive media coverage and the fact that some of these tragedies hit so close to home.

But I have read next to nothing on social media about this genocide in Iraq.

I had a hard time tracking down any specific numbers of people who have been executed so far, but I did find that at least 1,900 were killed in June  - and things have only escalated since then.  I found that 400,000 Christians have been driven from their homes and now have nowhere to go (via).

I listened to a Focus On The Family broadcast on this subject last Friday, and they interviewed a Christian who is on the ground in Iraq - and you could hear the sorrow in his voice as he talked about a five year old boy, whom he had recently baptized.  The boy and his family were captured by ISIS.
And they killed them.  They beheaded a five year old boy.

That hits close to home for me.  Maybe because my son is not much younger than that boy.  But really, this should hit home for all of us, especially for those of us who follow Jesus.  This isn't just some distant conflict between people who have nothing to do with us.

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being slaughtered.  

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are crying out for someone to help.

Frank Wolf is a congressman who has been speaking out about this atrocity for months, and he sent a letter last week to President Obama (before the President approved targeted US air strikes in Iraq) reminding him of the President's own words that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is . . . a core moral responsibility of the United States Of America".  Wolf's letter ends with words that haunt me.

"Mr. President, say something; do something."

I want to pass that challenge on to all of my American brothers and sisters in Christ.  We can't stand by while Christians are persecuted in such hideous ways throughout the world, and specifically in Iraq and Syria right now.

Say something.  Do something.

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I think one reason I've heard so little in the blogging community (at least in the corner of it that I'm a part of) about the genocide that is going on in Iraq and Syria is that we feel helpless.  What are we supposed to do to help?

I know I have felt pretty lost on what to do about this, but I have put together three ideas for things we can do for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted in Iraq and Syria.  This is what I've got.

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1.  Write your congressman.  There is obviously not a lot that we can do physically to help stop this genocide unless our government steps up.  Thankfully the President did authorize targeted air strikes in some areas last week, but I think it is important to let our representatives hear from their constituents that we want them to act on behalf of these minorities who are being killed.

I feel like writing your congressman can be a bit intimidating - maybe that is because I feel like my words have to be super-eloquent.  But it doesn't have to be hard - just a basic letter will do.  Here is what I wrote (feel free to copy my words or adjust them however you want):

To Congressman _______,

I am sure you are aware of the genocide that is being performed against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS.  This is an atrocity, a gross human rights violation.  Religious liberty is one of our foundational freedoms in this country, and I believe it is our moral duty as Americans to speak out against and put a stop to such horrific violations of that liberty.  President Obama also recognized this in a 2012 speech when he said that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America."  I urge you to do what you can to put a stop to the genocide in Iraq and Syria, and to support any action on behalf of those who are being slaughtered there.  Thank you for your attention to this crisis.

Sincerely,

Name
Address

You can visit this website to find your representative and get a link to your representative's website - typically each representative's website will have an email link somewhere on the first page.


2.  Donate to help the 400,000 Christian refugees in Iraq.  Focus on The Family announced last Friday that if you donate to their office in Egypt, they will make sure the funds go directly toward relief efforts.  I trust them to get my money where it supposed to go.

You can donate by calling 1-800-A-FAMILY, and telling them you want to give to help the Christians in Iraq.

American Christians are probably the Christian group that has the greatest resources for sending help, and I think that means we also have the greatest responsibility - so if you are a believer, prayerfully consider donating to help our brothers and sisters in Christ!


3.  Pray.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not really doing very much by praying, but in reality, prayer is one of the best things we can do.  We may not be able to see the effects, but it is making a difference.

Rev. Canon Andrew White, a guest on the FOTF broadcast asked for prayers for three things specifically, and I thought this was a great guide to use.  Here they are.

-Pray for protection.   Pray for the Lord to put his hand of protection over the Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq, to rescue those who are in captivity, and to protect those who are fleeing ISIS.  I love to pray through Psalm 91 for protection, especially the following section:

"Because he loves me", says the Lord, "I will rescue him.  I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him.  I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation."

Psalm 91:14-16

Let's pray those verses over our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

-Pray for provision.  Pray that organizations will be able to get relief to those refugees in Iraq.  Pray that God will put it on the hearts of His people to provide monetary help to the refugees (and consider donating yourself, if you haven't).

-Pray for perseverance.  One of the saddest things to me was hearing that many in Iraq are losing hope.  Pray that the Lord would be with those Christians in Iraq, and make His presence obvious to them.  Pray for Him to strengthen their hearts and give them courage to stand.  Pray for Him to fill them with peace and hope in the midst of this horrific trial.

Will you join me in praying daily for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering right now?

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I'd love to read about any other ideas or resources you might know about - comment below!
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Bethany Lammott said...

This is a great post, Callie.

I get e-mails and petitions to sign from ACLJ and Jay Sekulow. You can also donate on their page as well. http://aclj.org/

Amy said...

Thanks so much for posting this. This is great!

Minttu Karjalainen said...

This is wonderful! I've been thinking about this a lot.

M
http://iammrsk.blogspot.com

In Him said...

Wow, thank you for posting this. I especially love the different ways we can pray for our brothers and sisters being martyred.

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