Christians are being persecuted and killed by extremists in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria. This is a Moderator’s call for a Synod-wide day of prayer and fasting for these brothers and sisters on Sunday, August 24. Please announce this in your churches on Sunday, August 17, and encourage participation. In the midst of great trial for family members, we can offer the support of our prayers for strength to endure and for evil to be thwarted.
Sunday, August 24, will be a day of special prayer focus in our churches for persecuted Christians around the world followed by a day of prayer and fasting for these brothers and sisters on Monday, August 25.
The letter below is from the Erik and Laurie Meberg, World Witness missionaries since 2003. They have served in Turkey for eight years and give first hand details of the situation and how we can help.
In light of the horrific reports coming out of northern Iraq, many of us have been shocked at the astrocities that the Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated against the minority people groups of the area. These groups are all too familiar with ethnic cleansing and violence. The main victims are the Christians, the village Kurds, and the Yezidis – an ethnically Kurdish, but religiously Zoroastrian community. All who have the means have fled – often with nothing but what they could carry with them. While some have chosen to find refuge in the bigger Kurdish cities like Erbil, others have flooded across the border into southeastern Turkey.
Many of you have asked us how to send help to those directly affected by the violence. We just received a request from the Evangelical Church in Diyarbakir, Turkey. In their city, there are 170 family units of Yezidi refugees, and in another town in the Mardin province there are 90 family units of Kurdish refugees. These numbers are only expected to swell in the near future. This is the church we worked with while in Diyarbakir, who cared for us while we were in Mardin, and who continues to support the churches in southeast Turkey.
While the government has so far been favorable towards the refugees in Diyarbakir in giving them places to stay, the church would like to help in giving them clothes, diapers, food, and other basic supplies in the name of Jesus. The local authorities are extremely supportive of this faith-based initiative.
Some of you are aware that through your generous help these same congregations were involved in reaching out to the Syrian refugees. Over 500 Syrian refugee families were given basic needs to make it through the hard winter months. So, the supply chain is already open to get funds to them, they are already experienced in refugee care, and they are trustworthy brothers and sisters who have a willing heart to love on these people in the name of Jesus.
Our goal is to raise $30,000 by September 15th. The need is great and the church is ready to serve.
If you want to support the relief work through the Diyarbakir church, go to the World Witness webpage (http://www.worldwitness.org) and click “Give”. Once you enter in all the necessary information, please write in the comment box: Iraqi Refugee Relief. You can also contribute by check to World Witness. In the memo line, please write Iraqi Refugee Relief.
Thank you for standing with the fellowships of Southeast Turkey as they reach out in this time of need.
In His Grip,
Erik and Laurie Meberg