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What are you hoping for Christmas this year? Some of the children from Father Zechariah’s church in Erbil, Iraq share their hopes and dreams for Christmas and the year ahead. 

But there are some things that are less familiar; for the children, this will be the seventh year celebrating Christmas away from their homes in Mosul, over 50 miles away. Some of them are too young to even remember their hometown, or their families fleeing to safety to escape Islamic State (IS) militants. 

Father Zachariah leads the children in some beautiful hymns, before gathering everyone together and asking them about their hopes and wishes for Christmas. While most children might consider new toys or clothes, these children think differently. 

Eleven-year-old Fakhri says, “I pray that there will be no terrorists in this world, so we can live in peace.” Sam (10) and Marina (8) wish to live in peace and safety. Lydia (10) agrees. “We want to live in peace and security like other children in the world,” she says.

Mark (10) and Dima (9) pray for their church. “I wish that I would be able to go back to my church in Mosul,” Mark says. 

Please pray that these children will be able to celebrate Christmas safely this year

While these prayers and wishes may still be a long way from being fulfilled, your prayers and gifts have enabled Open Doors local partners to support these children and their families who fled their homes, initially with emergency aid, and later with trauma care, education, and by helping parents start small businesses.

Father Zachariah’s church was one of several that were able to run Christmas Sunday schools like this last year, where children could sing and receive Bibles and other books. This year, celebrations look uncertain as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect activities.

Please pray for these children and their families this Christmas – in particular, pray that God would make a way for them to celebrate the birth of Jesus safely. 

Prayer items

  • For all displaced children and families in Iraq who are missing their homes and churches, that they would know God’s comfort this Christmas
  • For Open Doors partners working to serve churches in Iraq
  • That God would pour out His peace on Iraq, that people may be able to return home to live in safety and peace.

Hope for the Middle East

Your donation could provide a monthly food relief pack and medical care for persecuted believers in Iraq and Syria, as well as providing a kit of winter clothes and blankets to help them survive the upcoming winter.