Over the last few months, Baghdad suffered one of the most deadly bomb attacks in the past 10 years and several Christians have been kidnapped, with some killed for their faith. How does a church survive in this context? Open Doors asked Farouk Hammo, a pastor from Baghdad:
“Despite all the violence taking place, we try to live our lives as normal. We go to work, pick up the kids from school and visit each other. Every evening we have activities at the church and most of our members are active in at least one of our ministries … Apart from what you might hear about conflict, we also experience the friendliness of the people on the street. War, unfortunately, has become normal to the people of Baghdad. We experience a bomb attack, bury the bodies and continue …
… Many of us have experienced loss … loss of family members or loss of earthly possessions. We experience discrimination and a lack of peace. People feel rejection, resentment and bitterness. There is illness because of trauma and there is spiritual bondage as well. We try to care for the inner healing that our people need. We do a lot of trauma counselling and train our youth workers, for instance. I can’t say if that’s enough, but we do what we can and we pray for what we can’t …
… As Christians, we need to stand firmly in our identity. Millions have lost everything, but some have found Christ. For us as a church, the influx of Internally Displaced People has given us the opportunity to “practice Christianity” as I call it, to help all who need it. It doesn’t matter if they are a Christians like us our not. God asked us to be gracious to all.
… God is in everything for us. He leads us and sends the right people our way. He gives us peace and happiness, despite the situation … Really, we are nothing without Him; hope is in Him alone.
I would like to say to you all [in the West]: please wake up … We need to stand together in Christ and pray together. That’s how we can change the world.
- Give thanks for Pastor Farouk Hammo, and many others like him, standing firm in their faith and continuing to shepherd their people despite the violence going on around them. Pray for protection for these Christian leaders, their families and the churches they work with.
- Pray that through the witness of Christians, may in Iraq will come to know Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open people’s minds to the truth of the Gospel.
- Pray for the Church across the world to join together and pray together for nations like Iraq and Syria, where Christians are daily facing serious opposition and danger.
- Pray that we, as God’s people will pray in faith, believing that prayer can and does make a difference and, through our prayer, nothing is impossible for God.
Hebrews 11 vs 1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Source, and to read the full interview with Pastor Farouk Hammo: https://www.opendoorsusa.org