JORDAN (INS)—Thousands of Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq have flooded into Jordan and Turkey in recent years, many of them victims of persecution because of their faith. With help from the Lord and prayers and gifts from Intercede’s Canadian supporters, Intercede partner mission Manara Outreach Ministries has been rescuing Christians and other refugees and ministering to them in vital ways.
Manara leader Isam Ghattas (see photo on left) has seen for himself the suffering that Middle Eastern refugees are going through. I He reported to Intercede: “I returned from a trip to assess conditions of the Christian community in Erbil, northern Iraq. I thought I was prepared. But nothing could have prepared me for the hopelessness I found when I saw it in person. It was very tough to handle.
“The streets of this largest city [Erbil] were lined with children begging for money, for food, for anything to ease their suffering. Displaced families are everywhere; in tents and churches and unfinished buildings. One thousand people were packed into one unfinished building in a mall. There was no flooring, no privacy. Makeshift wooden dividers separated families. Living on a construction site, many suffer from sinus infections and skin and eye problems. They share a tank of gas to cook their meagre meals. They are all well-educated and had built lives for themselves and their families. Now they have nothing. Two little girls—sisters aged seven and 11—watched in terror as ISIS slaughtered their parents. Now, they hold each other and cry inconsolably. Who will care for them now? This is only one of countless stories of horror and suffering.
“We don’t know why the world is filled with such suffering, but we know why we are here on earth and specifically in Jordan at this time,” explains Ghattas. “It is our responsibility as Christians to care for those Christ died to redeem; to minister to them as we would to Jesus himself. We at Manara are working on various projects that aim to comfort and support as many Christian refugees as possible.”
Manara provides food, clothing, blankets, heaters and medical assistance to needy Christian families, including Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. “We feed at least 4,000 or 5,000 families a month,” reports Ghattas.
New Mobile Clinic Saves Lives
“With so many desperate refugees, there is not nearly enough medical care,” reported Ghattas about Erbil, Iraq. “We were able to buy, refurnish, and supply a mobile clinic to provide free medical services. Each new clinic would have cost about $225,000; but we were able to find a used clinic and refurnish it with all it needs for $50,000. A doctor from Iraq has accepted to staff it and help. We have supplied it with two air conditioners and medical equipment. But there is a great need for medicine. Our goal is to have it ready soon.”
Later, Ghattas followed up by reporting, “We are thankful for our partners who were able to provide for the first mobile clinic in Erbil. The mobile clinic has been opened and is ready to serve everyone who is in need of medical attention and cannot afford it. This mobile clinic contains five different medical specializations: general doctor, gynecology, pharmacy, lab and dentist. It is located near to one building where refugees are living in Erbil, Northern Iraq. We thank God for His provision and we pray that this clinic will be a source of comfort for those who are in desperate need.”
In recent years, more than 11,000 Christian Iraqi refugees have entered the country of Jordan seeking a safe refuge from the war in Iraq. Many have been welcomed into different churches across Jordan, sleeping on mattresses on the floor with only wooden boards separating one family from the next.
“We believe it is our responsibility to provide for our brothers’ and sisters’ basic life necessities such as a living space,” declares Ghattas. “The Lord has opened a new door for us, by cooperating with the largest church in Jordan. Our goal is to build 15 separate studio apartments in the church’s basement.
Later on, Ghattas reported, “With great joy we announced the opening of the studio apartments that were built to house Christian refugee families. These studio apartments will house between 60 and 80 refugees.
Blessed With Opportunities
Manara has continued to be blessed with the opportunity to serve the hungry. A steaming plate of rice, vegetables, and a piece of chicken says to the refugee, “I love you... I have not forgotten you... you are important to me,” states Ghattas.
Most importantly, every adult at a recent outreach was given a New Testament Pocket Bible and every child was thrilled to receive a special Children’s Bible.
Manara missionaries have found another way to help Christian refugees by converting a small guest house into a sewing centre. Donated machines and fabrics are now in the process of transforming lives. With the provision of sewing and embroidery training, and even transportation to get the centre, Iraqi Christian refugee women are gaining new skills, dignity and a more hopeful future. They are becoming able to work from home to make money for themselves and their families.
Praise God for Manara’s help for persecuted believers and Christian refugees, and for the many Canadian prayer partners who support this ministry. Pray that God will protect and bless those who serve in these dangerous conditions—as they work for eternal results.
Photo: Manara Outreach Ministries leader Isam Ghattas (left) visits with refugee children in Jordan.