Daystar partners and viewers! Below is a letter written by Canon Andrew White exclusively for Daystar, updating us on the current situation in Iraq. Canon Andrew White has been serving in Iraq for quite some time, and is currently in the middle of the ongoing relief effort to help Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS.
Here I am in England just about to leave for the U.S. in the morning, whilst back in Iraq the huge crisis within the Christian community continues. The enormity of it is just beginning to sink in. At least 250,000 people have been forced from their homes, their churches, and their towns. They have been persecuted in ways too awful to describe. Their children have been killed, mutilated, and made to suffer in ways we never thought possible. Yet in the midst of all this G-d’s glory has never left us.
Last week ISIS (Islamic State) broke into one of the Christian homes. The father of the family was there with his children, and the ISIS members held a sword to each of the children’s necks and told the father, Yokhanna, that unless he converted to Islam they would all be killed. He looked at his children and said, “I always want you and need you.” He could not even bear to consider that his children would be killed.
With great reluctance he said the words of conversion. ISIS left and he phoned me crying, “Abouna Abouna (my father) they were going to kill my dear young children, they forced me to say the words of conversion and I said them. I love Yesua so much, I will never leave my Yesua – will He leave me now?” I asked myself what I would have done if I were placed in that situation. I told Yokhanna that Yesua still loved him and would never leave him. That Yesua would always be part of his life and would always be in their home.
Meanwhile our work continues trying to help the thousands of displaced people. We have had to provide everything. Everything – food, drink, mattresses, babies’ cots, wheel chairs and much more. The people have nowhere to stay; most have sought refuge in churches and schools where hundreds are left to sleep on the floor. Very soon the children should be returning to school after their summer vacation; nobody knows if and how the schools will even be able to open with so many hundreds of Christians and Yazeedis there.
Meanwhile I am away from Iraq, having had a week at home being very unwell with hepatitis. Today I started working again, and shared in taking the funeral of Amelia, a wonderful lady of 102, who was the granddaughter of Smith Wigglesworth. I got involved with the family because my grandfather was at one time the assistant to Smith Wigglesworth. When Smith Wigglesworth died, my grandfather was even given his Bible. Two days before my grandfather died he gave me the Bible and it has been with me ever since. It has come with me all around the world and has always been a source of great inspiration to me. I pray each day that I may see the signs, wonders and miracles that Smith Wigglesworth saw, and by G-d’s grace I do.
Tomorrow I leave for the U.S., first to Washington D.C. where I am to do a variety of formal things including opening the Senate in Prayer. Finally, I go on to Dallas in order to see my friends at Daystar, and for that I can’t wait.
– Canon Andrew White
Please join Daystar in continuing to pray for Canon Andrew White, as well as all of the Christians in Iraq being persecuted daily for their faith. Also, we recently sent a donation through Canon Andrew White’s ministry to aid Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS – if you would like to give or continue giving towards this cause, please click on the “Give Now” button below. Thank you for your generosity!
Canon Andrew White is the Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, which he has led since 1998. He is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. The organization exists to support Canon White’s unique work at St George’s by providing a spiritual home, medical care, humanitarian relief and the promotion of reconciliation among different religious groups in the heart of Baghdad’s Red Zone. To learn more about Canon Andrew White, visit him on Facebook here, and on Twitter at @vicarofbaghdad.