Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I will soon be leaving to the U.S., where I will spend three weeks. I will be visiting various locations, including Arkansas and Orlando, Florida, where I will be speaking in several places about our work in Israel and the needs in Iraq.
Radio Interview 13th October 2015 (The PHP Podcast, Arkansas)
The winter is approaching in Iraq and it will be extremely cold. One church in the city of Erbil is working with 500 families of Syrian Kurds. Most families are big, with seven or more children, and receive no help from the government. When I was in Erbil a few weeks ago, our team began delivering food parcels and audio Bibles to each family. We met a family with eight children which were in a desperate situation. The parents can’t work because of health problems; the rent is high; and their house is half-finished. Every day four of the children go out begging in order to pay the rent.
Some time ago when I was in Iraq with an American missionary. We saw a Syrian begging on the streets and the American shouted, “Get a job!” I was ashamed and angry, i thought total callousness, and I chastised him. Later through visiting the refugees, I discovered the situation of these Syrian refugees , that there are barely any jobs for Syrian Kurds, and when they find one, they often get cheated by their bosses and end up not getting paid.
With the winter approaching, there is a great need for kerosene and electric heaters. Electricity is cheaper, but during the winter, it is only supplied for about 10 to 12 hours.
The Kurdish pastor of a local church is a convert from Islam who faces much persecution. His family threatened to take his wife from him, a common “punishment” for Muslim converts to Christianity. Please pray for Majeed, his family, and the people working with him. We plan to purchase 500 food parcels for all the families in this region, and when we have distributed them all, we start again.
On another recent visit to Iraq, we visited many Christian families and presented the Gospel to them as well as preached to groups of unbelievers. This proved a great opportunity for people to hear the Gospel of the grace of God. One couple was very open. The man, Yusuf, and his wife have no children, so we prayed for God to bless them with children. Yusuf’s aunt was left behind in Qarakosh, and when he went back for her, he discovered that the bridge leading to the city had been blown up. Yusuf felt so guilty that he could not rescue her, but did have the opportunity to speak to her. She told him that though Muslim militia tried to convert her to Islam, she refused.
We also met a couple, ages 84 and 78, who lost everything they owned and wanted to go to another country with nothing but the clothes on their back. We shared the Gospel with them and know that coming to faith in Christ is more precious than anything they can possess.
One woman we met said she had lost all hope and thought God did not care about her. After we met her and explained the Gospel, she was encouraged and her spirits were raised. People had questions, and it was good to listen to and answer these questions. One man asked us about works. We showed him that works cannot save; it is only grace by faith in Christ that can save.
We also helped a man who thought his shoulder was broken by ISIS troops, but it turned out not to be broken. We also gave the money to a man with a brain tumour so that he can be operated on in Jordan. Another man we met left Roman Catholicism and became a born-again believer. Other Catholics now call him “evangelical” and persecute him, but he presses on in his new faith.
Elsewhere, because of the flood of refugees coming into Europe from war-torn Arab countries, we have the opportunity supply free Arabic New Testaments (only postage needs to be paid). Please let me know if you would like to join us in getting these Arabic New Testaments into the hands of refugees.
God willing, I and a small group plan to return to Iraq in November.
Thank you for your prayers and support, and may God richly bless you.
In Christ, thanks and be blessed,
Antony and Dona Simon