For years, ISIS held power over the city of Bartella, Iraq. Death and destruction ruled the day. But after a lengthy occupation, liberation has finally arrived with the defeat of ISIS in the region. Life is slowly coming back to the city, but as refugees make the journey home, they are returning to rubble. Just consider this report we received from our field team:
"Going through the streets, you can smell blood. You can smell bombs. Polluted water is everywhere in stagnant pools. Hospitals don't exist. Churches are burnt or destroyed—their steeples, crumbling, and their bells, silenced. As you walk inside these historic churches, you will find piles of ashes—all that remains of the Bibles, the hymnals, and the books for the children. The crosses are gone. All the furniture is overturned, and every window is broken."
ISIS knew very well how to steal, kill, and destroy. But now, through your partnership, hope is on the horizon.
On the frontlines of ministry, we see the deep need and we are spurred on to do the good God has prepared in advance for us to do.
A Beacon of Hope
Many of these refugees came to faith through our broadcasts and field teams during the crisis of ISIS. Others received practical support through the ministry of Help The Persecuted. And now as they return home, they need the encouragement and hope that is found only in the Gospel. But the churches are destroyed. Who will minister to them?
The Leading The Way field team has responded by planting a church. One team member explains:
"We feel that now, more than ever, these believers need a place to pray, to worship, and to hear the Word of God preached. Wahid*, a Help The Persecuted recipient, has given his home to the Lord to be used as a church. This is where we held the first service. Of course, there was no electricity, and the temperature was about 115 degrees, but we still had about 160 people in attendance. Afterwards, we offered to pray for anyone in distress. I never could have imagined that the whole church would stand up and get in line. Everybody needed prayer. When I laid hands on them, I could feel the pain and suffering they have been through."
A Call to Action
"ISIS was organized to do evil. We should be organized to do good now. That's our role. Life is coming back, and we should be the pioneers in rebuilding." – FIELD TEAM
This is exactly what we strive to do at Leading The Way. On the frontlines of ministry, we see the deep need, and we are spurred on to do the good God has prepared in advance for us to do. Through your support, He has uniquely positioned us to meet the spiritual and physical needs of those in desperate circumstances as we:
Reflecting on these developments in the Middle East, Dr. Michael Youssef rejoices, "God is opening new doors for the Gospel. As we help these refugees return home, I am filled with hope. God is giving us the opportunity to help rebuild their lives on the only true foundation—the Lord Jesus Christ."
December Gift Challenge: Help Us Rebuild
Generous ministry partners have committed substantial gifts to Leading The Way and are challenging you to match their gifts during our December Gift Challenge. Your gift this month will help us rebuild lives on the only true foundation as we press on to make Christ known across the globe.
"As a partner with us, you are spreading the Gospel to all people. I just want to thank you because your partnership truly means a lot to those we are helping and also to us who are ministering on the ground." – FIELD TEAM*Names changed for their protection.