There have been countless victims of suicide bombings in suicide missions in Iraq, but they receive little coverage in the British press for the simple reason that they are not British. What happed at Sousse in Tunisia has brought matters much closer to home . . .
We hope that the following appeal will keep the whole situation alive in your hearts – along with daily concern for everything to do with the complex issues associated with the plight of so many migrants, and the uncharted territory that is developing so rapidly in poverty-struck Greece.
You will have heard of the latest attack by ISIS on Kobane. According to the Daily Mail,
They came in last night disguised as Free Syrian Army and YPG militia men – they had their types of military uniforms on and they had shaved their beards. The first thing they did was attack and take over the ‘Doctors Without Borders’ hospital. Then four suicide bombers attacked different parts of the city. But they also had many snipers with them. They have been shooting like lunatics, mainly children and women. There are bodies of children and women spread all over – they shot like maniacs. See also this powerful account from The Middle East Eye.
Middle East Eye delivers a strong warning against the way the West is responding to the whole phenomenon of IS, which in so many ways has grown out of the invasion of Iraq. I remember so well, just before the second Gulf War started, a very intelligent young man in our group in Shetland declaring, “We are opening Pandora’s box, and we will never be able to be put back in what comes out.”
Human governments can never hope to solve all the issues now being raised; but Cameron is taking his stand for freedom of speech, freedom of worship and democracy. The government are making efforts to monitor what is coming into this country in terms of radio broadcasts, as well as tightening up laws with regard to charities. See: Cameron to fast track anti terror laws.
Peter Oborne, however, challenges certain fundamentals about the direction the government is taking in respect of its concern to oppose ISIS. See what you think of his arguments – and pray for our leaders and our nation in their very difficult task.
Politically the whole situation surrounding Syria and Turkey remains complicated, with Turkey continuing to oppose the Kurds adamantly – who are, of course, the primary people fighting ISIL in the region. Spiritually we would like to bring this initiative to your attention.
Outreach Appeal: An Exceptional Opportunity to Show the Love of Christ in Kobani, Syria
You may recall that our friends at 222 ministries have been operating a remarkable outreach project to feed people in need very close to Kobane. See this link to our Mashal sendout. The latest massacre of over 200 people in Hasaka in north east Syria brings the total number of those killed in the Syrian civil war to over 230,000 people. Please do not forget them! 222 ministries write:
These horrific and barbaric acts remind us how important it is to show the Syrian Kurds that our God is a God of love. Jesus said in John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Although Kurdish forces have now retaken Kobane, tens of thousands of Kurds have once again fled their homes, and the situation in and around Kobane, including on the other side of the border in Turkey, remains tense. People are sad, afraid and in great need of basic supplies.
Who would have thought two years ago that we would see over 220,000 people killed in a vicious civil war in Syria, with half the population as refugees internally and millions more in neighbouring countries. Who could have thought that a group called the “Islamic State” would arise in Syria, Iraq, Libya . . . and publicly – for the whole world to watch – and brutally, kill.
Despite thousands of Christians, Yezidis, Muslims being killed and women sold as spoils of war, the response of the world has generally been too little, too late. While many nations are trying to make war on the Islamic State, more and more innocent people are being killed. They now rule over eight million people in Iraq and Syria and young men and women are joining the Islamic State from all over the world. The world has gone crazy.
In early 1991, my eldest brother, Rev. Sam and I went to Iran to help feed some of the one million Kurdish refugees that had escaped from Saddam Hussein and his brutal forces in Iraq. With the active participation of 80 church leaders we were able to feed 16,000 Iraqi Kurdish refugees for three months in Dolenav refugee camp near the city of Marivan at the border of Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan.
This was a massive operation coordinated and led by Rev. Sam Yeghnazar. After three months, when the Kurds were returning to Northern Iraq, they turned to our Iranian Christian leaders and said: “We are Sunni Muslims. Iraq’s president is a Sunni Muslim too. He tried to destroy us and killed many of our people. Sunni majority nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, with hundreds of billion dollars of wealth, did nothing for us. The only ones that helped us were you Christians. The Kurdish nation will never ever forget what you did for us.” So it was not a big surprise for us that after a short time we heard that thousands of Muslim Kurds in Northern Iraq were becoming followers of Christ.
In the past 23 years my team members and I have worked among the Yezidi Kurds in Armenia and Georgia. We have seen over 1,500 Yezidis become followers of Christ. A short while ago, a Yezidi Kurdish Christian mission team from Armenia and Georgia went to Turkey to help the refugees from the city of Kobane, Syria.
Last year Kobane was in news around the world for weeks, as the Islamic State tried to conquer this Kurdish town. Some 200,000 of its inhabitants escaped to Turkey. Many others died defending it. With the backing of Kurdish fighters from Iraq and Turkey they were finally able to save the town. Our friends had gone there to feed the refugees returning from Turkey. A top Kurdish leader, who is a Muslim, turned to the Christian team leader and said “My staff will do the humanitarian work. You just preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”
When our friend asked him why, he replied “I was one of those who destroyed the church in Kobane. However, after I saw what the Islamic state and other Muslim fundamentalists did, and how you Christians were the only ones who helped us, I want to dedicate an acre of land for a church to be built and we will help you with that. Then we will put a huge cross on top of the building so that whoever enters Kobane, from any direction, will be able to see it plainly.” Then he asked our friends to return and share more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is an amazing opportunity to build a church with phenomenal favour from the city leaders.
We have helped with distributing food in Aleppo, Syria through a prominent surgeon friend of mine and we want to help even more as the need is quite huge. I now appeal to you to help me feed 1,000 Kurdish families in Kobane by providing them a bag of food items that will cost $50 each. We need $50,000 to do that. A Christian organization has promised a matching grant of $25,000 if we raise $25,000 for this project. With each plastic bag distributed to needy Kurdish families, we provide a Kurdish New Testament and our Kurdish team members witness to them in their own tongue as they distribute the food parcels.
I believe our food distribution, along with this sharing of the Word of God, will have a powerful impact on the people of Kobane who are returning home from refugee camps. Our relief operation could bring many hundreds if not thousands to Christ. If you would like to contribute to this invaluable project, please send it to: 222ministries.org
$50 will help us give food (enough for two weeks) to one family.
$250 will help us give food (enough for two weeks) to five families.
$1,000 will help us give food (enough for two weeks) to twenty families.
April 25, 2015 was the 100 year anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century – The killing of over 1,500,000 Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. This is a very sad day when millions of Armenians worldwide remember the brutal and systematic annihilation of Armenians in Turkey. Though the Ottoman Turkish authorities and officials were the culprits of this massacre, most of the 1,500,000 Armenians were killed by the Kurds. If I, as an ethnic Armenian, want to feed the Kurds in Kobane, Syria, it is because of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and for showing the love of Christ in action. I am expecting a great harvest.
One last thought – Allah has 99 names in the Koran and none of them is love. It is only in the Word of God that we read: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8 & 16) In the last two years I have seldom seen churches in the Western world pray for Syria. Now we have a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity to show the love of God in action to those who have seen so much anger, revenge, hatred, rape and brutal killings. Let us show them that there is a true God that loves them, as they see the love and care of His followers. May we be an effective influence for good in a country that has seen so many bad things.
Yours to feed the hungry for Jesus’ sake,