The trauma of war
A five year old Yazidi girl is kidnapped and sold as a slave to an ISIS fighter and his wife. The girl is forced to work for the couple at their home in Fallujah, 60 miles from Baghdad. One day, as punishment for wetting the bed, the girl is tied to a post outside in the searing summer heat. She is left to die of thirst. The wife in question is a German national and is this week standing trial in Munich for crimes against humanity. However, her husband is reportedly living in Turkey and has yet to face justice.
We share similar stories from Iraqi Christians who have suffered or witnessed persecution. The testimony of a warm-hearted Iraqi woman called Marlene always shocks those who hear it. Her father was gunned down on the streets of Mosul by Al Qaeda sympathisers. In a deliberate act of desecration, the killers hung a sign around his neck. which read: “This Christian does not deserve to have a tomb, anyone who moves this body will be killed.” But Marlene’s 17 year old brother went in the middle of the night to recover the body. Like so many Iraqi Christians who fled to Jordan, Marlene brought memories of this terrible experience with her. Thousands are suffering because of these experiences.
Trauma counselling for those who suffer
Last year, FRRME provided funding and support to set up a trauma counselling centre in Jordan. This provides a safe space for refugees to work through their pain. Activities include art and music, as well as sessions with a qualified therapist. Creativity has significantly improved the mental health of the refugees. Indeed, talking about their experiences has helped many overcome their fears. In a culture which often views poor mental health as a form of weakness, the centre is a beacon of hope to those suffering the hidden injuries of trauma.
The centre is based at The Church of the Nazarene in Amman. Thanks to a grant from The Jerusalem Trust, we will soon be setting up a satellite centre in Madaba, a city to the south of the capital. This expansion will allow us to help more refugees, particularly children. We are grateful to our Project Officer in Jordan, Helena Scott, for helping to develop this vital work. Our church partners in Jordan are very happy:
“The new trauma counselling centre in Madaba is a huge blessing for the Iraqi refugees. Many of them have suffered so much hardship and loss. The centre will allow them to take positive steps towards healing and better prepare them for the future.” – Pastor Daniel Yoo, The Full Gospel Church
“This grant from The Jerusalem Trust will allow us to continue the work for another year. Special activities for the children are making such a positive difference. Thank you so much to those who support us, it is greatly appreciated.” – Pastor Zaki Kopti, The Church of the Nazarene
While the grant from The Jerusalem Trust will allow us to expand our trauma counselling provision, other areas of our work in Jordan still need funding. Currently, we are helping 6,000 Iraqi Christians in Jordan through four church partnerships. We provide food packages and accommodation support. Iraqi refugees in Jordan cannot get work permits and asylum can take years. As Christians, they have turned to us for help. In turn, we remember the words of Jesus Christ:
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.’ Matthew 25:35 NIV
Please support the refugees this Easter
Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan depend on charitable donations for food and shelter. We work with four church partners in Amman and Madaba which we support. If you would like to help the refugees this Easter, please visit our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate). Or you can send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom. Thank you.