IRAQ – I am Pastor Sabri, and together with my wife Nahla, we started the church from a simple home group with four believers, in the Fall of 2006. At that time, Christian and Arab families had begun to move from Baghdad and Mosul, fearing the decline in security. We started with two believing families, but soon we multiplied and had to move to the sanctuary of a church hall that we began to rent. These families that the Lord was sending to us were unbelievers and we were able to share Christ with them and one by one we saw redeeming faith come to their hearts through Christ.
We cared for these families through all manor of tragic situations. Dealing with the trauma of being forced to leave their homes and security behind, the uncertainty of unemployment and having to begin their new life from scratch has been traumatic and yet as a church, the Lord has strengthened us in helping them according to the weak capabilities that we have. Many have shared that they would not have had the strength had they not had the encouragement and shepherding care that they have found through our ministry. We now have 50-60 families in our church regularly and minister with our main service, youth, men’s and women’s services along with our Sunday school. We have been a sure foundation for the family of faith as many have emigrated out of our country and we are thankful but know that the Lord has called us to serve our people here.
The Church went through many difficulties over the years, especially as we endured another invasion, this time by the terror of the Islamic State and the killing and the expulsion of Christians and non-Christians from the Nineveh plain, taking everything they had and forcing them to become refugees into Northern Iraq. All the churches banded together to help. It was during this period that another Iraqi pastor introduced us to Pastor John and Dee Cook. Their assistance had a great impact on the inclusion of displaced families in the church and assisted us to expand our care as a church. Through this we were able to introduce many to the Lord Jesus. After six years many have returned to their towns and communities that were liberated by coalition forces, but for some they will never be able to return as there is a bounty on their life. Now we have another difficult stage dealing with COVID-19 and this has led to fear and many people losing their jobs within the church. This is on top of the refugees that are no longer able to travel back to their homes in both Iraq or Syria and not able emigrate out due to lack of openings and depletion of personal funds.
As we face this Christmas time along with the global pandemic of COVID-19 we see families that are teetering because of a hopeless future outside of Christ’s help, we are so grateful for the partnership we find with Indigenous Ministries as they have helped with providing food, school supplies, and a gift for the children at Christmas time. Being that many in our church members have lost their jobs and many are at the end of their savings, the tithes are extremely limited if at all. I am grateful to the Lord for you and I am asking that you would continue to pray with us as we look to the Lord for his immediate help.
Psalm 66: 8-12 Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
Pastor Sabri is one of Indigenous Ministries’ Global Church Planters. Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support for these pastors and their families who minister at the “tip of the spear” for the Kingdom.