“Your feet will walk where your prayers have traveled”.
The above phrase has been stirring in our hearts for over one year now. Since 2003, our family has been joining the chorus of specific and fervent prayer for the Middle East. It started with a revelation from the book of Isaiah in chapter nineteen. In this biblical text, the Hebrew prophet describes an intense shaking that will come into Egypt resulting in the establishment of a highway throughout the region. According to this scriptural prophecy, a highway will extend from Egypt to Assyria (Ancient Assyria is present day Iraq including areas of Syria, Jordan and Turkey) with its route traversing through Israel. The promised result of this highway is a “blessing in the midst of the land.”
In these past ten years, our feet have walked in Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. This past week, we spent five days in Iraqi Kurdistan, the northern part of the Isaiah 19 highway. We flew into Erbil, then drove to Duhok and joined the incredible efforts of the Springs of Hope Foundation (SOHF), who are serving the Yazidi communities in both Shariya and Khanke Refugee Camps and beyond. We met some incredible people doing an incredible work with very limited help from the international community.
In the 14 Yazidi camps in Kurdistan, there are a total number of 161,575 people: 13,996 children, 4000 orphans, 3000 disabled and 2018 widows whose husbands are lost or have been killed.
On 15 June 2016, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued the following summary:
ISIS has committed the crime of genocide as well as multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Yazidis, thousands of whom are held captive in the Syrian Arab Republic where they are subjected to almost unimaginable horrors.
ISIS has sought to destroy the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community, and erasing their identity as Yazidis. The public statements and conduct of ISIS and its fighters clearly demonstrate that ISIS intended to destroy the Yazidis of Sinjar, composing the majority of the world’s Yazidi population, in whole or in part.
Over 3,200 Yazidi women and children are still held by ISIS. Most are in Syria where Yazidi females continue to be sexually enslaved and Yazidi boys, indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities. Thousands of Yazidi men and boys are missing. The genocide of the Yazidis is on-going.
Asaph, one of Israel's chief poets and songwriters, wrote these lyrics in Psalm 82, "Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked."
To read the full but difficult report, click here: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
To find out how you can support the ongoing efforts to reach the Yazidi people with hope and healing, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org