War, terrorism and insecurity in the Middle East has driven millions of people from their homes. Many Christians have left the region, but some Muslim refugees from Syria have been describing dreams and visions that have caused them to think again about the Christian faith.
Release International is working with refugees in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. It’s partner, Jamal Liddawi, believes God is at work in the middle of the crisis, as he explained to Andrew Boyd…
Jamal Liddawi, speaking there to Andrew Boyd. You can find out more about his work in Iraq at www.releaseinternational.org
Jamal: We see the people, they suffer, they run and they have nowhere to go. The only place to go is to God. We see many people come to Christ because this is the only solution for them. They are afraid for their lives, they are scared for their lives. They have lost everything. They need God. And at this time, we see how many people really become open to hear the gospel, who become open to get in touch with God. We find it is much easier for people who are under persecution to give their life to Jesus. We don’t pray for persecution, but this is how the Lord works it out.
Q: We’ve heard many stories of refugees, Muslim refugees, having dreams and visions of Christ. Is that continuing?
Jamal: Yes, people they know. We have a lot of stories, testimonies of people who came to Christ just by dreams and visions by waking in the night. And yes, it is true.
I can remember this lady, she came and she was living in a neighbouring country near Iraq Kurdistan. She had a dream. And the dream told her, you need to go to the city which is Erbil and you need to go to this street and this house, and if you go there and you knock on the door, you will find somebody who will tell you something about me.
She drove, and she came from the neighbouring country to Kurdistan to the city of Erbil. She went to the street. She believed, you know, that the Lord told her that in the dream, and she knocked on the door and guess what, you know? It was one of our church planter’s houses where the people they worship the Lord. She knocked on the door and the lady opened it to her and she said, ‘Yes, we are Christian.’ And from there, she gave her life to Jesus and she shared her story with the people in Kurdistan.
Q: This must give you great encouragement in what you do. Can you describe the work you’re doing there with Release International?
Jamal: Yes. We thank God for Release International. Since 2014 they have really stood with us and have really stood in every way in prayer and in support and in giving. Since 2003 they were helping us to reach to the Christian community and to the Muslim community by providing basket food for the refugees and they continue to today. Without their help, would not be able to help the refugees or even share the gospel, because we help the refugees and we share the gospel, both hand-in-hand. Our heart is to get them Jesus and at the same time also to give them food to eat. With Release and their standing with us since 2014 actually, they are very faithful with us with our ministry, we thank them so much.
Q: How is the Lord opening doors for you there, in your work in Kurdistan?
Jamal: We started helping the refugees in schools. We provided food and all that stuff. The government, they notice what we are doing and they started wanting to know more about what we were doing and they were really impressed, because we, a small mission, a small NGO, not a big one, but they saw the impact of what we are doing and they said, OK, we want you to do more work. And they started giving us more and more open doors for us to reach refugees. And now we’ve got permission from them to distribute food, to enter camps, even to give the distribution of the Christian books in every camp, and everywhere we go.
And even they gave us a thank you letter from the government saying thank you for what you are doing, and they even put about our mission in the newspaper about what we were doing and how we are helping the country there. And that has opened a huge door for us; even the government notice the good work we are doing they have helped us to get all the permission we needed and also we can share the gospel.