Noeh: God gives me hope

“After the liberation in October we found out that Islamic State had burned our house. I was very sad when I saw it for the first time,” says Noeh.

Noeh is 12 years old – his family fled their home in Karamles, Iraq, when he was just nine, to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). “My Mum and Dad, my brothers and sisters were always around me, and they helped me to overcome the difficulties.”

For the last three years they have lived in Erbil with others from their town – they have called the part of Erbil where they have been staying ‘Little Karamles’. Thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors has been working through local partners to support this community with food aid, trauma training, and income generating projects – some of the people from Karamles have been able to start a small food factory, a bakery, and a restaurant in Erbil.

But Noeh and his family are determined to go back to Karamles to rebuild. Noeh says, “We want to return home. We thank everyone who is helping us. I know there are others from our village who don’t want to return, but I do want to return. This is our land.”

Such a dream might seem impossible as you look at Noeh’s home in Karamles – it has been completely burned out by the militants. Showing what’s left of his room, Noeh says, “These were my toys, all of them are now burned. Now I have nothing.”

But as he looks at the remnants of his room, he suddenly says, “My marbles!” Picking through the ashes, he finds enough marbles to play with. They’re a symbol of the sparks of hope that many of our Iraqi brothers and sisters are finding, even in the most challenging situations.

Noeh says that it is God who gives him the hope that he will be able to return to Karamles. “I feel the Holy Spirit inside me… He tells me it is good to live in Karamles again.”

And he already knows what he wants his new room to look like. “I want my bedroom to be colourful – red, blue and green with pictures of FC Barcelona and Jesus on the wall!”

Bring hope to the Middle East

While the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) have largely been driven out of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, they have left terrible devastation behind them. In Syria, the war rages on, and Christians continue to be a target for Islamic extremists.

Incredibly, there are Christians who are choosing to stay in the Middle East, the birth place of Christianity, because they believe that God has called them to shine as lights in the darkest of days. They have a vision to rebuild their homes and communities.

But this won’t happen overnight. This is why the global Hope for the Middle East campaign is a seven-year campaign. Your support is keeping hope alive for thousands of families in Iraq and Syria, and we must continue to walk with them for as long as they need us.