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Saturday, August 23, 2014
At the moment a huge tragedy is affecting some peoples in northern Iraq. Some young people of the Focolare Movement who live there, sent us some "flashes of light" and of hope, the result of their trying to live the Gospel.

20140823-02  R. wrote, “After the elections that took place this year, the situation in our country worsened, because until a few days ago a government had not been formed. Extremist groups of Isis Jihadists took advantage of this situation and began to advance in the North. Many families fled to take refuge in safer places. Some families of the Movement who live in more secure places took them into their homes. While the mass media transmit tragic news, we seek to bear witness with concrete acts of love and mercy towards all”.
V. said, “Before the situation became worse, a friend and I were trying to think of a way to give courage and hope to the people of our city, many were emigrating. We talked to some city officials to ask to post encouraging phrases on the walls of the city, trying to highlight the positive, since only negative news were spreading. One day we helped a family of the Movement who had taken refuge in our city. They needed water. One of our neighbours, who we didn’t even know very well, gave us water intended for his own family since he saw the others needed it more. Other families asked us to find them a place to stay. We prayed that God would help us. We remembered a boarded up house that belongs to relations of ours  who had emigrated abroad. We contacted them and immediately they gave us the go ahead.”

The experience of V. refers to the days when people were uncertain about their future because just 20 Kms away, extremist groups had driven the Christians out of Mosul. Rana added, “Unfortunately, they then also attacked some small villages, mostly Christian. To save their lives, the people had to leave their homes in the middle of the night, leaving everything behind: goods, homes, jobs, clothes and documents … Many are now living in the north of the country with other families they don’t know or for the luckier ones, with relatives. But many are still sleeping in the open air, in the squares or in churches and schools. Or else two or three families may have to live together in a small house. Some survive on the aid coming from the NGOs or churches, just enough to get through the day. Their hopes of returning home are minimal and there is talk of not for at least a year or two. Many children play in the scorching sun with stones or empty water bottles! The summer here is very hot, with temperatures still reaching 45 degrees during the day and at night dropping to 25 degrees.”

R. continued,  ”Practically all the young people we know have had to leave everything: their homes, schools, work … Some fled to Duhok, a city in the north of the country, where they were welcomed by a family of movement. They found themselves together, living in a situation similar to that of the early days of the Movement during the Second World War, where despite the fury of the bombs they continued to help everyone. Spontaneously, families and young people started to get together to pray the Rosary. Every day others join and now there are about sixty people who pray every day, each time in a different house. Some of the displaced families found refuge in the church, others in a school, and others in a building under construction. The majority are Christian and recently  some Yazidic families arrived. The fundraising initiative of the young people of the movement throughout the world is giving us the opportunity to help them because they have nothing. In Dohok we were able to buy groceries, mattresses, sheets and fans.”

V said, “Along with a friend we had already bought a lot of mattresses, but there still wasn’t enough so we went to another village to buy them. After explaining why we were buying them,  the shop owner joined in our initiative and gave us the mattresses for nothing. So we were then able to buy other things”
(to be continued)

For those wishing to help the Christians of Iraq:

IBAN JO09 ARAB 1110 0000 0011 1210 9985 98
Account: 0111 210998 0 598
Swiftcode: ARABJOAX100
Description:  Help Christians in Iraq
ARAB Bank – Amman branch
Amman – Jordan

(500)Rules

Paula dj

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 18:00

Thank you so much for these precious accounts.. truly a ray of hope! A push to live more for peace in the world and work with concrete actions to raise funds for our brothers and sisters in Iraq!