I was thinking about what cultural issue I should comment on today when I got an email from a trusted friend whose generosity brings him into relationship with missionaries around the world. As I read it,I was overwhelmed. So this week I simply share the content of that email with some names and towns changed or left out to protect those involved, and only add this prayer, “God help us.”
NOTE: Since this commentary was published, some of the statements in the email quoted below have been called into question concerning the systematic beheading of children.
“We recently received these two emails from missionary friends, one yesterday and one this morning. I pass it on so that people can pray specifically for our brothers and sisters.
“Email 1: A friend from Ohio just got a text message from her brother asking her to shower him and his parish in prayer. He is part of a mission team and ISIS has taken over the town they are in today. He said ISIS is systematically going house to house to all the Christians and asking the children to denounce Jesus. He said so far not one child has. And so far, all have consequently been killed. But not the parents.
“The UN has withdrawn, and the missionaries [are] on their own. They are determined to stick it out for the sake of the families—even if it means their own deaths. He is very afraid, has no idea how to even begin ministering to these families who have seen their children martyred. Yet he says he knows God has called him for some reason to be His voice and hands at this place, at this time. Even so, he is begging prayers for his courage to live out his vocation in such dire circumstances. And like the children, to accept martyrdom if he is called to do so.
“She asked me to ask everyone we know to please pray for them. These brave parents instilled such a fervent faith in their children that they chose martyrdom. Please surround them in their loss with your prayers for hope and perseverance.
“She was able to talk to her brother briefly by phone. She didn’t say it, but I believe she believes it will be their last conversation. Pray for her, too. She said he just kept asking her to help him know what to do and do it. She told him to tell the families we ARE praying for them and they are not alone or forgotten—no matter what. Her email broke my heart. Please keep all in your prayers. Thanks.
“[Email 2:] This came this morning . . .
“Just a few minutes ago, I received the following text message on my phone from [the leader of an international crisis relief organization] . We then spoke briefly on the phone and I assured him that we would share this urgent prayer need with all of our contacts.
“‘We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS, and they are beheading children systematically. . . . ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our team is working. Thousands more fled into [another city] last night. The UN evacuated its staff in Erbil. Our team is unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover needed!’
“Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of the people of Northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians across this region.
“May I plead with you not to ignore this email. Do not forward it before you have prayed through it. Then send it to as many people as possible. Send it to friends and Christians you may know. Send it to your prayer group. Send it to your pastor and phone him/her to pray on Sunday during the service, making a special time of prayer for this. We need to stand in the gap for our fellow Christians.”
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.