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Iraq: Martin returns to Karamles
13 December 2016
Many of you will be familiar with Martin, a church leader from Karamles, Iraq.
Two years ago, he fled Karamles with the rest of his church when Islamic State (IS) extremists took over their village near Mosul. Together they fled to Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled Iraq. They were some of the many thousands of people whom Open Doors has been supporting through local partners in Iraq.
Now, with Karamles freed from IS fighters, recently Martin was able to visit his town for the first time in over two years. As the bells rang out, he gave us this message from Karamles, filmed by a colleague on his mobile phone.
"Finally I am here in Karamles," he said. "I can't describe my feelings right now, but I want to say that I am very happy. I am very happy to be here, and for that I ask your support to help us to rebuild our village and other villages.
"We need your prayers. Pray for us to come back to our home and to live here.
"We are very happy to go back to our home to stay... and to rebuild this country again."
Give them hope
Martin could have chosen to emigrate with his family - but he didn't. "This continuing situation has just solidified my calling. I am needed here at this moment to feed my people with charity and with hope."
Can you be part of that hope?
A dedicated 'rebuilding and returning fund' has been created within Open Doors to support Christian families with the required finances to repair their houses, to reinstate the water, sewage and electricity infrastructure for their villages, and to restore schools and church buildings damaged by IS.
One of the first rebuilding and returning activities that will be supported by this fund is a Centre for Support and Encouragement in Karamles. This church-run centre is to be opened in the last weeks of December with the aim of supporting Christians as they rebuild their houses by offering them care, food, and places to sleep.
BRING HOPE TO THE MIDDLE EAST
- Pray. Order a free Pray for ME resource pack to help you lead others in prayer for the church in Iraq and Syria.
- Give. Every £42 can provide an emergency food parcel to feed a family of five in Iraq or Syria for a month.
- Speak out. Sign and share the One Million Voices of Hope petition asking for equality, dignity and responsibility for Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, which will be presented to the UN Secretary General next year. If you've already signed it, download a copy and ask others to sign it too.
- For comfort and joy for displaced families in Iraq as they celebrate Christmas
- For protection and wisdom for Open Doors partners and others who are planning to help families from the Nineveh plains return home
- For the establishment of the Centre for Support and Encouragement in Karamles.
More News from Iraq:
- Families repair their homes in Qaraqosh with your support
- Christine released from Islamic State after three years!
- Displaced families begin to return home
- The stone factory near Mosul rebuilding hope and dignity
- Bibles for children 'sowing the seeds of the gospel'
Find out more about persecution in Iraq.