This past week, I was walking around one of the camps in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, where many Christian victims of ISIS are now finding shelter. To the world, these victims are known as IDPs, or “Internally Displaced Persons.” To me, they are my brothers and sisters who have lost everything because they refused to give up the name of Christ.
Hillside IDP Camp
I was there to inspect the latrine and shower units AFM has installed through the generous support and prayers of many supporters. As I walked around, many families sat huddled on their mattresses in the cold air of their crowded warehouse home, eating their main daily meal—rice, beans and green salad. As word spread from family to family that I was representing the donor ministry that had paid for their latrine and shower units, there was a huge outpouring of gratitude and thanks. Many urged me to eat with them, to share in their meager daily rations, but I managed to extricate myself without further diminishing their already scarce food supplies. It was truly humbling to experience such spontaneous generosity from people who are living day to day in such need, having lost everything in this world.
Visiting Christian refugees and IDPs
As I continued my inspection tour, I thought of the wider AFM family. Many are daily, devoted prayer warriors. Many provide sacrificial support for AFM’s frontline ministry to the unreached peoples of our world. Others call with words of encouragement, which our office team greatly appreciates. As I left the IDP camp, I felt a deep impression to pass on and share with each member of our worldwide AFM family the gratitude, thanks and appreciation from the Christian IDPs out here in Iraq. Each of us has a different role within our ministry, but every wall is made of individual bricks, and for a wall to stand tall and true, every single brick is needed. Most of us may never have the opportunity I did to meet with the persecuted Christians of Iraq, but each of us is vitally needed, so thank you for being part of such a great team, and for being part of a greater miracle – the triumph of the love of God in the face of dire circumstances.
We may not all get to eat meager rations with persecuted Iraqi Christians today, but one day by God’s grace we will all get to eat a banquet side by side with the followers of Jesus from East and West at the wedding supper of the Lamb. That will be a day of great story-telling! Maranatha!
Conrad Vine, AFM President
Water station at refugee camp