Home Church Mission-Revival “ISLAMIC STATE WAS A WAKE-UP CALL” IN IRAQ by Brian Orme

“ISLAMIC STATE WAS A WAKE-UP CALL” IN IRAQ by Brian Orme

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Faith – That is the key word when considering the future of the church in Iraq. With the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa in October, Christian refugees displaced by the war continue to make their way back to their homeland. But the task of rebuilding in a still-volatile political climate is just starting. In September before the fall of ISIS, we talked with Shlama*, director of our partner organization in Iraq. Two months later, her words are still profound reminders of a God who redeems and restores.

When talking with Shlama about the church in her country, faith plays a central role. “The future of the church is dark or cloudy, as I put it. But we as Christians should live by faith. Faith is about something you cannot see; it is the faith God has a plan and a future for the church in Iraq,” says Shlama*, director of our partner organization in Iraq. But when in 2014 ISIS was on the rise and took over Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, displacing almost all Christians living there, didn’t she doubt at that moment about the future of the church?

WAKE-UP CALL

“No, I did not doubt,” says Shlama. “When you look at the history of the church in Iraq, you know that periods of persecution come and go. From time to time, we had persecution and we had times of renewal in the church. For the church, Islamic State was a wake-up call for their faith. Many started thinking again about the meaning of being a Christian. Being a Christian doesn’t mean an easy life. Jesus doesn’t promise us an easy life, He promised to be with us. That is what the church believes.”

Shlama continues: “I see a lot of encouraging things happening. I heard people from different churches saying that they want to stay in the country and reach Muslims. They even said that they believe the church of the future will be a church from a Muslim background. That is really a revolution. Even if they cannot do a lot with those people from a Muslim background, they accept them coming and they see that as the future.”

INCREASE OF GRACE & MERCY

She thinks for a moment and says: “You know, times of persecution always mean times of an increase of the grace and mercy of God. I remember once I had a conversation about persecution. We talked about this text of when you’re weak, you’re strong. When you are persecuted, you see it’s not you who is strong but He who is with you.”

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