15 November 2016
Displaced Christians preparing to return home in Iraq
Alliance member Open Doors are working on the ground in Iraq as the liberation of the Nineveh plains begins.
The persecuted Church charity is monitoring the situation and planning support for displaced people to return to the area.
The liberation of parts of Iraq is a sign of hope for Christians in the region.
A local Open Doors partner, John*, visited the recently liberated city of Qaraqosh and said: "The area we visited appeared totally destroyed.
"Many houses and buildings were burned, and in some streets the houses were totally collapsed — appearing like a district inside Aleppo."
Open Doors partners hope to help local people rebuild towns such as this.
John said: "We will support families to make their house liveable again. We will help them with funds to repaint their house, to replace doors and windows and to repair cabling and water pipes.
"It is important that we help them rebuild their churches. We will also help to repair schools and infrastructure."
It remains unsafe for displaced people to return to liberated areas such as Qaraqosh because IS fighters are still present in the bigger towns.
They are expecting to be able to begin to return in the summer of 2017.
Open Doors partners visited a church building in Qaraqosh with the church leader whose congregation once met there.
They said: "With a sad voice [the church leader] remembered how the church had looked before he'd left it two years ago. But although ash and damage was everywhere, what stood out most for me was the faith I saw in his eyes.
"We will continue to support them every step of the way.
"We will work with them on job return projects and of course they can also apply for business loans and continue to take part in our trauma care projects and Biblical trainings and distributions."
You can read more about the liberation of towns across Iraq and the return to Christians to their communities here.
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