Many of you who are partnering with RUN to get aid and relief to those suffering at the hands of evil in northern Iraq have asked for an update on the work there. As the situation is extremely sensitive, we can report only in general terms that the efforts have been both fruitful and costly. Nearly a dozen lives have been lost from among our believing national colleagues who rescue others at great personal risk. Here is a brief report.
In recent weeks, thanks to the prayers and generosity of many and the grace of God, our teams on the ground in northern Iraq:
1. continue, every day, the "search and rescue operations" we began in early August to find those desperately fleeing from murderous jihadists to bring them to one of our four Community of Hope Refugee Camps or secure them within a network of safe houses. Other refugees are protected in villages and safe homes and awaiting the funding for more camps to be built so that they can live in peace.
2. provide loving care, the good news, safety, shelter, food and water for 21 days until we can help each family find a permanent place to rebuild their lives.
3. have lost 12 of our workers (killed in this effort). It is extremely dangerous work.
Daily, new terrified and desperate families are met by members of our network of national believers from the region who help them escape the brutality of the jihadists to come into camps. Just this weekend an influx of more people fleeing the atrocities witnessed at the hands of ISIS brought the total to 26,000 refugees sheltered in our “Community of Hope” camps. Their numbers continue to grow dramatically. However, their stay in the camps cannot be long term as it is too dangerous. A plan is in place to relocate displaced families and help them regain independence. Please pray for God’s protection of all those in the camps as well as in the other places where our colleagues have temporarily housed families. The enormous responsibility to care for these victims of terror in northern Iraq has been an unexpected and overwhelming challenge. Yet, their gratitude for the ones who have rescued them has resulted in a number choosing to serve the one true God.
We are so very thankful for those partnering with us to respond to the ongoing need for tents, food, blankets and other relief supplies. We are deeply humbled by the sacrifices of our national colleagues on the front lines. On behalf of so many needing and receiving help: thank you. At the same time, our responsibility to be a light in this horrific darkness is not over. We must continue to provide love, peace, shelter, food and water to those who have lost loved ones, including their own children. There are thousands of people who are depending on us today.