Light from Dark

September 18, 2015 • Iraq

A displaced Iraqi man gives up a life of drinking to follow Jesus.

J.M.* is the ministry program manager for Samaritan’s Purse in Northern Iraq.

We recently visited a family displaced from Mosul. Samaritan’s Purse has been working in the area where they are living, and one of our chaplains, Jacob*, has been caring for them. During our time with the family, they told us about their challenge

On of their hardships was their daughter, who has Down syndrome and has been struggling since the displacement. Being displaced and caring for her is a heavy burden to bear. The mother said, “Jesus said to ‘take up your cross and follow me,’ and I am taking up two crosses.”

Light from Dark

Chaplains talk with a displaced family.

During the visit, a young man had been lingering in the outer edges of the group. After we prayed for the family and daughter, this emotionally distraught man came into the garden. Initially I thought he was in shock because his hands were shaking. He told us his name was Butros* and wanted to speak with Jacob. Later, I learned what happened.

He told Jacob that he was tired of drinking (He sometimes consumed up to four liters a day.) and smoking and that he didn’t want to do it anymore. He promised Jacob that he would stop drinking. Jacob said that was good, but he wasn’t responsible for whether Butros kept his promises

He told Butros to make his promise to God, and then continued to orient him back to Jesus in all that was said in their conversation. Jacob reassured Butros that he could have a personal relationship with Jesus and explained that praying to Jesus was just like having a conversation with a friend. Butros told Jacob that he didn’t know how, so Jacob helped him pray.

Butros asked Jesus to heal and help him. This experience turned a good day of visiting and praying with people into an amazing day. A new brother was added to the family of God. Pray for him as his journey begins.

*Name changed for security reasons.