My heart was broken today as I stepped inside Ankawa Refugee Camp. This is home to over 3,000 Iraqi refugees who have escaped from the slaughter of ISIS. What I saw took my breath away.
A staggering number of people in Ankawa are inflicted with painful illnesses with no way to access medical care. Many will perish in the coming days, but not necessarily from the machine guns used by the soldiers. They will die of hunger, exposure, and a host of preventable illnesses we barely give a second thought to here in America.
Open sewage drains from latrines into the streets, inviting an epidemic of sicknesses. Young children, many of whom are not yet vaccinated, are extremely susceptible. Damp winter weather is sure to only exacerbate the already dangerous situation. Last year, the region was covered in snow and ice with record-breaking lows well below freezing. No amount of canvas tents can keep these already suffering people sufficiently warm and dry.
I believe God specifically led me to meet Ahmed. He and his family are from the mountain village of Bartella. Only a few months ago, rumors of an impending ISIS raid sent hundreds into panic and before long, the town was empty.
Ahmed took his family to Kirkuk for safety, but overcrowded conditions forced them out after only a month. Now he lives in a tiny tent here in Ankawa with four other family members.
Since arriving, Ahmed developed a debilitating kidney stone. With no money or opportunity for surgery, Ahmed’s condition grows worse by the day. A doctor in the camp told him that unless the stone is removed, it is only a matter of time before he will die. Bedridden and unable to work, Ahmed is in excruciating pain with little hope of things getting better.
Once a successful builder who owned his own home, Ahmed has lost everything and begged us for our help. I couldn’t imagine his suffering, his humiliation, or the sheer agony of being completely helpless.
We worked with our partner to coordinate an emergency surgery for Ahmed by a doctor in the area. I soon realized that his life would be saved simply because God allowed us to cross paths today. It was truly a miracle . . . a glimmer of hope in circumstances so desperate, I can barely find the words to describe them.
Aid is urgently needed in camps like Ankawa. I beg you today, just like Ahmed begged of me, please, please help in any way you can. If you are simply willing, God can use you today to save the life of one of these persecuted believers . . . to bring hope where there is none.
Ask God to help you make an impact that will outlive you and last for eternity. Today, I’m believing with all my heart that He will.