Thursday, May 26, 2005

Missiology: MidEast Iraq: Report from Christians on the Frontlines after Foreign Missions Influx then Exflux

An agency that supports indigenous missions in difficult places around the world, and which reports on conditions in many countries where Christian missionary work is seriously blocked or totally surpressed, sends this report in its most recent email newsletter:

A Christian ministry leader of Muslim background who has traveled in Iraq four times in the last year told Christian Aid, "Despite everything, the churches in Iraq are growing." The news comes as a surprise amid reports of a virtual Christian exodus from the country. Muslim extremists have attacked churches and threatened, kidnapped or murdered Christians, driving thousands of Iraqi believers into neighboring countries for safety.

Yet according to this mission leader, whose name is withheld for security reasons, Christians who are staying are seeing their churches grow. He believes the sudden influx and subsequent withdrawal of many foreign missionary agencies following the toppling of Saddam Hussein contributed to this growth. "I have never seen so many foreign groups coming into one place [after Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown]," he says. "But, as soon as things started to get difficult, many of them pulled out, leaving only the Iraqi Christians to do the work."

Iraqi believers have stepped up efforts to spread the gospel to their countrymen even though some of them are in grave danger from insurgents fighting in the name of Islam. Through his visits with families in Iraq, the native mission leader learned of a disturbing tactic being used by insurgents to maintain their ranks: fighters have been going house to house in certain areas, demanding a child from each family. Those who refuse are threatened with death; those who go with the insurgents are "trained" for several months for suicide bombing missions.

"Though many Iraqis were glad to be rid of Saddam and glad for the Americans' help, they live in such fear because of these things," he said.

In this atmosphere, Iraqi believers know that the need for Christ's gospel of peace is stronger than ever, and they are determined to spread it.

This force of native Iraqi missionaries, the mission leader says, points to a change that ought to take place in missions across the board. "Churches in America need to change their ideas about missions," the leader declared. "They need to trust the natives' vision to reach their own people and get behind them with support."

Please lend prayer support to Iraqi Christians courageously spreading the gospel in an extremely volatile situation. For more information, write insider at christianaid dot org and put MI-619 444-WMN on the subject line.


If you email or clickup the Christian Aid website, you may want to ask for their Report on the South African Land Crisis, and the difficulties of a just solution (white farmers have been murdered off systematically by certain forces, for instance); Christain Aid has its Report available on PDF.

Cut-&-paste URL for Christain Aid USA website:

Popular Posts