The young woman lay on a bed in a barren room in a building filled with refugees. A Christian, Rita had fled Islamic State terrorists. One bad thing after another, and now she is paralyzed and blind in one eye. Her younger sister is disabled from birth. With no way for the sisters to leave their bed, their elderly mother carries and cares for them.
We were in Kurdistan to deliver medical and health care items – including wheelchairs – that were donated from the U.S. for Christian refugees. But our shipping containers were being held up by certain people who said all the items must be “donated” to them.
The need was too great among Christian refugees – who seem to get overlooked by the big agencies and authorities – to give in. If we could get our aid to them, it would be one step to a better life. And they would know they are not forgotten.
Hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi Christians had found shelter in the unfinished shopping mall. Though temporary, they are making do. One room is a kindergarten run by a cheerful teacher. One family turned their room into a convenience store.
Others live in a large camp outside Erbil. Many are disabled. Elsewhere, Christians are returning to their villages, freed of ISIS but left in shambles.
We met with families whose life-long neighbors – infected by ISIS ideology – turned on them. We met with directors of hospitals that treat Christians, in faith that our medical equipment will get distributed to them. We traveled to bombed out Mosul, ISIS’ former headquarters, and Qaraqosh, a Christian village coming back to life post-ISIS.
And we met with Kurdish authorities and U.S. officials to get our containers released.
Finally – after months – the containers were released! Not one item was confiscated.
CFI volunteers are getting these valuable goods into refugee camps, Christian villages, and hospitals. Wheelchairs, walkers, diabetic supplies, dental equipment, baby incubator and much more. You should see the smiles.
Just before Christmas, this message came: Could CFI provide Christmas dinners for families who survived ISIS?
When ISIS attacked villages in the Ninevah Province in 2014, people found refuge in the ancient mountaintop Mar Mattai Monastery.
The monk Mar Mattai (Matthew) had fled Roman Empire persecution around 360 AD when Julian the Apostate tried to abolish Christianity. Throughout history this monastery has been a shelter for Christians who were being persecuted.
In 2016, surrounding villages were liberated from ISIS. In 2018, the monastery once again became a haven of help as CFI delivered hundreds of bags of food for villagers in time for Christmas!
A local priest told CFI:
“You made these families happy because they are in the most desperate needs nowadays. We thank you specially for helping people with special needs medically, now that they have no money or jobs to pay for their needs.
“We had no help from any organizations because ISIS was so close to us and other organizations are afraid to visit us and lend us help.”
Your donations to Christian Freedom International made this story happen from beginning to end. Your prayers overcame the obstacles. Your love traveled to suffering Christians through these gifts.
Want to do it again?
P.S. Yes, Rita and her sister got a wheelchair! Your donations to CFI help Christians like them in many ways. You can watch a video of Christian refugees getting new wheelchairs and Christmas dinners here: