Heritage under threat
In the month of September, we were reminded of our heritage as South Africans, while in October we remembered the 500 years of reformation in the history of the Church. The Wittenberg Reformation of 1517 changed everything – culture, commerce and learning. But prior to that, Jesus and his group of disciples caused a stir amongst mankind that is felt to this day by ushering a new kingdom that advances redemption from sin and liberty in faith! Jesus and his disciples challenged the status quo of the day by challenging the religious laws and traditions as laid out by the Pharisees. This resulted in persecution being a part of their daily lives as is the case in the lives of Christian in the Middle East today.
Although the Church in the Middle East has played a vital role in society for almost 2 000 years and is committed to being a place of hope and restoration for the years to come, it’s under more pressure than ever before. Christians continue to face significant targeted violence and persecution, and need urgent change to ensure a future in their homelands.
Our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, whether living in the Middle East or in the diaspora, continue to seek to preserve their heritage and the Christian witness in their homelands. In order to ensure the preservation of the Christian heritage and especially the Christian witness in the very geographical region where “it all started” many years ago, Open Doors assists many of those returning to the ruins where their homes once stood. Open Doors, through local partners, is helping strengthen the Church in various ways such as by equipping leaders through discipleship training, helping Christians to earn an income through various projects and providing trauma counselling for those severely traumatised by war and persecution.
One of the families we are assisting is 12-year-old Noeh and his family who returned to their liberated village in Karamles. As yet Noeh and his family are unable to return to their actual house as it was burnt by Islamic State. Watch this video of Noeh returning home after three years. Pray for Noeh and others like him as they look to return to their homelands.