For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Easter after many of its families returned. In the midst of devastation there are stories of hope and courage – and our team on the ground meets with Christians in the week leading up to Easter to share some of these stories with us.
Noor (29) is an architect who had to flee with her family when ISIS overran their town in 2014. She, along with her family, decided to return to Qaraqosh to renovate and rebuild her town. She says, “before we ran away from Qaraqosh this place was like a paradise for me, like heaven,” Noor tells us with a smile on her face.
Worries for her baby daughter
Noor was engaged at the time she had to flee. While being displaced she got married to her fiancé, Anmar, and two years ago their lovely daughter Ashly was born.
Over the last few years the young mother witnessed how many Christian families left Iraq, migrating to safer countries. “I also thought about that, because of the insecurity and when thinking about the future of my little daughter”, she admits. But nevertheless, she made the determined choice to stay. “Because I love my town and my family, I decided to stay here.”
Young mother Noor remembers vividly how she went back to her town for the first time after it was liberated, a year ago now. She felt devastated by the destruction the terrorists had left behind. “It was like a hell. I smelled things that were so bad, I can’t imagine… Blood, dirt, bodies… It was like a ghost town. No lights, nothing in it.”
Working as architect to rebuild Qaraqosh
Soon after Noor and her family moved back permanently to Qaraqosh, the Church’ Reconstruction Committee offered her a job in the technical department. “I work there as an architect now; I work on the information, the data and the registrations. Through that, I can help other families to rebuild and reconstruct their houses.”
Noor is proud she can serve her community like this. She tells us, “I dream of Qaraqosh, that in the future it will be better than before – like paradise.”
Grateful for your prayers
Noor is grateful for those who have been supporting displaced and persecuted Iraqi Christians. She says, “On behalf of me and every single Christian in Iraq: We are thankful for every Christian in the world, for thinking about us. And we are grateful that you are helping us with your prayers. So, thank you.”