QARAQOSH, Iraq – The names of Asian cities are often unknown to most people in the western world. Qaraqosh is one such city.
Its connection to Biblical accounts of history dates to hundreds and even thousands of years before Christ as it lies within the Nineveh Governate and close to the ruins of both Nineveh and Nimrod.
The city has a long history dating back to the earliest centuries A.D. The city was heavily damaged during 2014 when ISIS gained control. Most of the population fled to safety. Displaced residents began returning in 2016 after Iraqi forces were able to defeat the ISIS troops and retake the city.
Before the ISIS take over, the residents typically identified themselves as either Muslim or Christian. The term Christian, however, was broadly generic, meaning “not Muslim.”
“Steve Van Valkenburg with Christian Aid Mission says, ‘When ISIS came in and persecuted them and chased them out, many of these Christians went to places like Erbil and Dohuk and Kurdistan. In those locations, there is a ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission that was able to reach out and feed and clothe and share the Gospel and give out Bibles and disciple new believers.’”
During his status as a refugee, Nasim, a citizen of Qaraqosh who would have identified himself as Christian, was introduced by CAM workers to a genuine relationship with Christ. Nasim has returned Qaraqosh to rebuild his home and spread the Gospel to others – traditional Christians and Muslims.
Van Valkenburg said, “Many Muslims have believed in Christ, but also many of the historic Christians have believed. So, for them, being a Christian means a lot more than just not being a Muslim. Now being a Christian means that they’re born again, they believe in Christ as their Savior and Lord, it means that they begin to read the Bible and they attend Bible studies, and they’re discipled.”
Christian Aid Mission is providing supplies for residents to rebuild their homes. They also offer support such as audio Bibles that will help these new Iraqi Christians grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and to reach this oral culture with the Gospel effectively.