Iraq (MNN) — Remember the Yazidis? ISIS massacred 5,000 of them and drove hundreds of thousands out of northern Iraq in 2014. More about that here. Details are now starting to emerge from an October 9 peace deal that could allow Yazidi survivors to begin returning home.
“There’s been an agreement made between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish government that would allow for people who fled go back. There will be some stability and control for the first time since after ISIS,” Samuel* of Redemptive Stories says.
As explained here, the agreement aims to rid northern Iraq of Turkish forces. However, “it’s also related to the pullout of U.S. troops,” Samuel notes. The more details come out, the more politically complex this agreement becomes. International players like the U.S. and U.N. support the deal, while some in the Yazidi community reject it.
A report examining the political nature of this agreement and its impact on Gospel work is forthcoming. Today, Samuel offers a praise report concerning the Yazidi community.
“God has done amazing things and many of them have come to faith in Jesus Christ, which is wonderful news,” Samuel says.
“He took the terrible situation of ISIS and brought Yazidis to Himself through that. Yes, it was an atrocity and a genocide, as we mentioned. But God still does beautiful things through messes.”
Yazidi turn to Christ
The Yazidis are one of Iraq’s religious minorities, practicing a belief that incorporates elements of Islam, Christianity, and several other religions. More about Yazidis here. Like Iraqi Christians, Yazidis were targeted for slaughter by the Islamic State, leading to mass displacement.
“As many of them came out to the primarily the Kurdish region of Iraq and settled there, Christians – both churches and international organizations – began to care for them,” Samuel says. Here’s one example from Christian Aid Mission.
In the following months, many turned to Christ as they saw His compassionate love in action and learned Gospel truth. Find more Yazidi stories here. Today, Yazidi believers carry powerful potential for the Kingdom.
Makeshift chapel in an Iraqi refugee camp.
(Photo courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)
“New believers can be empowered, trained, equipped to become future leaders in their community as they go back and be part of that redevelopment process [in Sinjar],” Samuel says.
“It creates another opportunity for their continued development and the growth of the Church in that community.”
Right now, “most of them live in tents; nearly a million people live in a tent of some sort,” Samuel says of Yazidi believers. If the Iraqi agreement does allow Yazidis back into their homeland, it “creates an opportunity for them to rebuild, refresh, and create some stability,” he continues.
Pray for wisdom as Yazidi believers seek God’s will for their future. Ask the Lord to bless those He calls to return home.
“The Church is called to love each other and to display the unity John 17 talks about. This is an opportunity for us to express that unity by praying for our brothers and sisters as they seek opportunities to return home,” Samuel says.