Source: Joel News International, October 31, 2016
In 2001, Raeed answered a call from God to become a monk and joined four others in a small monastery in Iraq. But life changed dramatically when the US-led coalition moved into Iraq. He was in a taxi with another monk on his way to Baghdad when they unexpectedly collided with a tank. There was a horrible crash and the awful sound of crunching metal as the tank drove over part of the taxi. The accident killed the other monk in the car and left Raeed in a coma.
When he emerged from the coma and realized he was the only survivor from the accident, it challenged and deepened his faith. “It brought me back to my calling. I’d promised to obey Jesus, and he said, ‘Whoever follows me should not look back.’”
On August 6, 2014, Raeed found himself caught up in another invasion: ISIS was entering Qaraqosh. While he and several others were gathered for prayer, suddenly the sound of honking horns and explosions shattered the silence. He ran to the window and was startled to see cars lining up to evacuate the city. Raeed quickly gathered his belongings and prepared to abandon the monastery. The drive to Erbil took them all night.
Over the next several months Erbil became a safe haven for thousands of refugees fleeing ISIS, including many Christians escaping the atrocities. Raeed found a new calling in this crisis. He established a monastery in the middle of a refugee camp. The temporary church is usually filled to capacity on Sunday mornings, with people standing in the doorway, overflowing the service.
“God needs me to be here,” he says. “It is all about Jesus, the rock we build on. And whatever might happen, our rock will never disappear. He will always be here.”
» Read the original story (as it first appeared in WorldWatch Monitor) and pray for the people of Qaraqosh, reportedly Iraq’s largest Christian community. Christians have also been interceding for breakthrough in Erbil, praying and fasting for 50 days leading up to what they’re calling ChristDay, November 18-19.