Imagine being given three options because of your faith:
Stay in your home and convert. Leave your country with nothing. Stay, don't convert and die.
These were the options given to our Christian sisters and brothers in Mosul, northern Iraq.
What option did they have? So many were forced to leave their much-loved homeland. Upon reaching the border, even their suitcases with a few personal items from home were taken from them. At the refugee camps in Jordan they were treated
badly, being told that as Christians it was down to the Church to look after them.
Mercifully, some of these refugees have found a place of sanctuary thanks to Fr Khalil Jaar, parish priest in Amman, Jordan. He has opened up his parish hall as a place for the Iraqi Christian families to stay whilst they wait to see what their futures hold, and whether they will gain recognised refugee status. Accommodation is basic. The hall is divided by blankets to try and give even a small amount of privacy to each family. But at least for now they have a roof over their heads and a sense that they have not been completely abandoned.
The parish is in a walled compound. At its entrance is a permanently parked car, to try and prevent car bombs exploding within the parish boundary. Having been forced from their homes and uncertain about their futures, they now live under constant threat of attack.
To support Fr Khalil and the work of the Church around the world in sharing God's love with those who need it most, please donate here.
Hope for the future
Alongside somewhere to stay, volunteers have worked with Fr Khalil to set up an informal school for around 400 children. As Christian refugees, these children are not allowed to attend a state school in Jordan. They have been through so much at such a young age, the trauma is too clear to see on their innocent faces. The school gives them a sense of purpose, a routine, somewhere to play and make new friends, as well as hope for the future. They even make their own uniforms!
It is a situation that we can barely imagine. Hopefully these families will only have to stay there for a short time, but for as long as they need support, Fr Khalil is determined to share God’s loving mercy with our sisters and brothers who turn up on his door step.
He is showing them the welcome we hope would be offered to us in such a desperate situation, and he does so in our name too. But he needs our prayerful and financial support to continue.
Fr Khalil, and the universal Church around the world, needs your support to share God's love with those who need it most, please donate here.