A true story of rescue and new life

Imagine being kidnapped by Al Qaeda and then locked in a pit in the ground and left to rot. You are there for days and nights and then hear voices. Are these people coming to kill you? You are bent over double, unable to stand up. You feel utterly vulnerable and at the mercy of whoever comes.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40 v 1

Then you hear the sound of tools on the lock above your head. Voices call out reassuringly as they open the medal lid of your tomb-like prison. Is it a trick? Who are these people with foreign voices? What do they want with you? You are terrified!

The voices call out. “Come out come out. It’s fine, come out.” “Fear not. Fear not”. The light blinds you but you can just make out the uniforms of Kurdish and American soldiers. “Take this.” “Help him out.” “Take his hands.”

They lift you out. You try to stand up but can’t because you have been bent double for so long. The relief brings you to tears as you crouch on the ground. “Thank God,” you cry. “Oh Lord”

You are free.

Watch the moment Sander is rescued from the pit by Kurdish and American soldiers

Hope restored

But the threat to your life and that of your family remains. In Iraq Christians have been targets of extremists.

In time you manage to escape the country and end up in Jordan.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40 v 2

The Syrian Orthodox church in Amman support you with funding from FRRME. But it is illegal for Iraqi refugees to work in Jordan and you can’t support your family. You are in limbo. If only you could start a new life somewhere after all the trauma of the past. You apply for visas to Australia. They are one of the few countries who are still taking Iraqi refugees.

Finally in the autumn of 2019 you manage to get approval from the Australian government to emigrate there with your wife and children. What joy!

Sander, moments after being rescued and together with his wife, Oct 2019

We met Sander and his family when we were in Jordan last month. One of the team read the first few verses of Psalm 40 to him and told him this was for him. We have supported them for the last 18 months. We rejoice with them that they will be starting a new life soon in Australia.

May God richly bless Sander and his family as they settle in Australia and begin a new life there, in Christ’s name. Amen.

The FRRME Team

Sander and his family, October 2019

Please help restore hope to others like Sander

We support over 6,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan, who have been through terrible trauma and now live in desperate circumstances. You can make a donation via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate). Alternatively, you can send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom. American supporters wishing to make a donation can do so here