In 2014, thousands of people left their homes in Mosul, Karamles, Qaraqosh, and other Christian villages on the Nineveh plain, which were falling to ISIS. They headed south to Erbil, the “capital” of Iraq’s self-governing region of Kurdistan, where they found shelter.
For the last year, some of these displaced people have been helped by Martin, a seminary student and fellow Kurd was also forced to flee his home.
World Watch Monitor originally met Martin in August 2014, after he had started caring for the displaced people of Karamles, a town close to ISIS-held Mosul.
The people from Karamles had nowhere to stay after they arrived in Erbil, so, after sleeping a few nights in the grounds of a church, they were moved into a construction site of an unfinished shopping mall, which housed hundreds of families in the immediate aftermath of Islamic State’s attacks.
In February 2015, they moved from the partially constructed shopping mall and now live in small trailers that surround the UNHCR tent, which functions as both their church and school.
Since becoming displaced by ISIS, the UNHCR tent is the only public place Martin’s community has and they still don’t know what has happened to their church in Karamles.
“We don’t hear much about Karamles,” Martin said, “But we have our prayers and services in exactly the same way as we did in Karamles, so in this way we remember our church.”
Martin felt called by God to be a priest as a young boy and entered seminary directly after finishing high-school. But he was forced from his home by ISIS in the summer of 2014.
However, when asked if he feels like the situation in Iraq has made it difficult for him to remain true to his calling, he firmly shakes his head: “No. This situation has proved my calling … I am needed here at this moment to feed my people with charity and with hope.”
- Give thanks for Martin, and many others like him, who daily minister hope and healing to their people in the refugee camps. Pray for protection on him, and for his own faith and hope to remain strong.
- Pray for the spread of the Gospel amongst refugees, for many to encounter the hope of Jesus, the life He offers and healing through His Spirit.
- Pray for the current refugee crisis in Europe, and for the millions in refugee camps. Pray for governments to have compassion and open doors to hope and freedom for these desperate people.
- Pray for peace in Iraq and Syria.
Isaiah 61 vs 1 & 3 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor … and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”