A Well for Yezidis
Our friend Faras is a pastor in Northern Syria, where extremists are strong. His city has been under siege for about 4 years. Although the Kurdish militia keeps the extremists from invading, life has been tough for Faras and his congregation.
The electrical grid was severely damaged a few years ago, so most of their electricity comes from fuel generators. Because the only thing available is cheaply made degraded fuel, air pollution has become an issue. Respiratory problems are rampant, with children and the elderly getting hit the hardest. Food is also in short supply because supply trucks are regularly hijacked by extremists. For this reason, families eat as little as possible because they never know when the next supply will arrive.
It is perhaps the most difficult at night. This is when extremist soldiers make their presence known outside the city. They set up loudspeakers. They blare insults. Threats. They shout detailed descriptions of what they will do— to the women and the children—when they invade. For Faras and his congregation, the dream is to survive.
Last year, Faras learned that a group of Yezidi people formed a camp in proximity to his city. Yezidis are a racial and ethnic group who live in Iraq’s Nineveh Province. They practice an ancient folk religion that borrows from many different religions, including Islam. Because of this, Muslim extremists (who are all about purity) have a particular hatred for the Yezidis. Of all the religious minorities targeted by the extremists when they took over the Nineveh Plain, the Yizidi people were brutalized the worst. We know of an extended family who lost 60 members—30 of their men were executed on the spot, while 30 women were sold into slavery (15 have since escaped). For some Yizidis, fleeing to Syria actually looked like a better shot at a future than in Iraq (That’s messed up, isn’t it?)
When Faras and some elders saw the bleak conditions of the Yezidi camp, their hearts dropped. They realized that the Yezidis were in even rougher shape than they were.
So, they made some calls. Faras knew that relief money was coming from a U.S. partner. When asked where the greatest needs were, he said “The Yezidis have no water.” That relief money could have easily been poured into their own community and still be a drop in their bucket of need—but Faras’ church made sure that part of the relief money went to drilling a water well for the Yezidi camp.
Faras and his people are under great pressure
But they choose to not be victims.
They acted out of an attitude of FULLNESS–not SCARCITY.