The Iraq trip did not happen yet. Yes, you read right.
The Iraq trip to minister to girls who have been raped or kidnapped by ISIS has been a whirlwind.
The pastor and his wife, who invited us to Iraq in November, called and said they had elections and it would not be safe for us.
They asked us to postpone until February, but with no fixed date in sight, I did not want to share with you all, only to get delayed once more (being familiar with Middle Eastern culture), which is what happened.
So, we finally got a date, 16 to 18 March 2023.
They changed the target audience and will make it a conference for couples, but I will have a few sessions with women on their own.
Wahid and I will fly to Erbil and, from there, by car to Shaklawa, where the conference will take place.
In my opinion, this is the behind-the-scenes story: Yazidi women have been abused not only by ISIS but also by ministries. Some ministries want to make fanfare by taking photos for fundraising, thus abusing those women again by not respecting their privacy and pain. They do this for hidden agendas. Many do not take permission from those women to publish their pictures and stories on social media.
Why am I saying this? Because when I spoke to people ministering to abused women in Iraq about the fact that I did not want to go on a hit-and-run conference, which would cause more damage to the women, I faced extreme opposition from several ministries.
My God-given dream is to have a follow-up plan to train the leaders working with abused women on how to follow up, lead support groups, and when to ask for our help.
Ministry to abused women is undoubtedly a long-term plan, but it is more beneficial in the long run for the lives of those women. Most ministries shut down the conversation when we mention long-term recovery plans.
What could we, as Not Guilty and 4G3, who are partnering on this trip- achieve if we go for four days if there is no plan for a follow-up? My humble opinion is that we would be doing those ladies a disservice. It would be more beneficial for them if we do not go instead of opening wounds, leaving them bleeding, and returning to our everyday lives as if nothing happened.
I think the Iraqi pastor and his wife want to ensure that we are not going to minter with any hidden agendas but that we have the best intentions for their women and churches.
They will be inviting couples from many churches in Kurdistan to attend.
Please do pray that as Wahid and I minister to couples and as I minister to women that the Holy Spirit will give us the humility to listen to what He wants to do.
Pray that this will open the door for more ministry among Yazidi women. with no fanfare.
4G3 is on a mission to embolden displaced and persecuted Christians in the Middle East to stand firm in their faith.