Iraqi Christians have launched a spiritual battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by uniting in prayer for the restoration of their land which has been desecrated by the jihadists.
(Reuters/Azad Lashkari)Iraqi Christians take part in a procession to erect a new cross over the Mar Korkeis church, after the original cross was destroyed by Islamic State militants, in the town of Bashiqa, Iraq, November 19, 2016.
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Two years after ISIS took over several Christian villages and towns in northern Iraq, believers gathered to pray together for the cleansing of their land. The event called the Return Festival also served as their celebration of their hope in Jesus that one day they will be able to return to their hometowns, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) details.
“The original idea of this event is to bring Christians together to pray for their land,” Mahar Barbary of Life Agape told CBN. “Because their land has been taken by ISIS and we believe that this land needs to be cleansed. And we believe as we pray for this land, people will go back we believe for a new spirit, for a new situation.”
Vernon Brewer of World Help also spoke to the Iraqi Christians attending the event to share the message of hope. He acknowledged the feeling of hopelessness of the persecuted and displaced believers, but also encouraged them by saying, “Jesus Christ is the hope of the world.”
In addition, Brewer urged people to stand with the Middle Eastern Christians who are facing the threat of genocide. He also said the Iraqi believers have faith and resilience despite their situation.
Many of those who came to the Return Festival had fled their land to escape ISIS atrocities. They mainly prayed that one day they will be able to go back to their homeland safely, since it is still too dangerous for them to return even after some of the towns have already been liberated.
In the town of Bashiqa, the Kurdish Peshmerga still are not done clearing the place of explosives and mines that ISIS may have left behind. The fighters have asked the people for patience until their safe return is ensured, Reuters reports.
Nevertheless, Christians were able to ring the bells of the Mar Korkeis church for the first time since ISIS took over. They also replaced the ornate crucifix atop the church that the militants destroyed with a new and simpler one.