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A VOICE OF HOPE IN IRAQ

In a part of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where most Christians have immigrated or fled for safety, a little voice of faith is growing. Ten-year-old Rita, the youngest choir member of Mar Boulos Church in Baghdad, Iraq, stands out with her exceptional vocal skills.

SAT-7 KIDS aired a special of Asanabel News, filmed in Iraq. The program featured an interview with young Rita. “When my Sunday School teacher came to teach us hymns, she heard my voice and asked me to join the choir,” Rita shared on the program.

“The members of the choir are all adults,” added Saba, the church’s choir conductor. “Rita may be the youngest member of the choir, but her voice is bigger than her age.”

TRAUMATISED REFUGEES RECEIVE AID FROM THE CHURCH
Iraq has seen the plight of over a million Christians, most of which have either sought refuge in neighbouring countries like Jordan or immigrated to the USA, Canada and Australia.

A recent documentary of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, filmed by SAT-7, featured the stories of many refugees reluctant to return to their countries because of the current lack of security and the traumatizing memories of persecution.

“Surviving Iraqi families in Jordan told us harrowing stories of escape from Daesh militants. They saw their friends and family being killed and the corpses laid on the street loaded with explosives by terrorists. The Church in Jordan has made enormous efforts to help Iraqi children refugees forget the horrors they witnessed,” says Rafik George, SAT-7 Program Producer.

THE CURRENT STATE OF IRAQ
A year since the official announcement that Daesh militants have left Iraq, the situation is still unsafe. Iraqi citizens still fear for their lives because of the landmines and improvised explosive devices that were planted in their homes and fields¹. Sometimes, a suicide bomber might penetrate security and kill people ².

The Christian population of Iraq is now down to 100,000 people.

Mar Boulos Church is the only church in Zafaraneya and has a congregation of approximately 70 families. It is home to Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian and Assyrian Christian worshippers as it is closer to their homes.

RITA’S DREAMS FOR HERSELF AND HER COUNTRY
Rita and her family watch SAT-7 KIDS. She loves to watch the songs and hymns that SAT-7 KIDS broadcasts. Her father, Bashar, encourages her to sing and gives her positive comments.

“My dream is to be a professional hymn singer and produce albums of hymns. I want those hymns to give peace to the Christians in Iraq,” Rita says.

Please pray that SAT-7 continues to support Christians in the MENA and show God’s love amidst turmoil and chaos.

Sources:
¹‘People are scared’: a deadly legacy of Isis continues to shape lives in Iraq. (2018, Nov 15). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/15/people-are-scared-to-go-home-deadly-landmines-of-isis-still-shapes-lives-in-iraq-fallujah
²Iraq isn’t as dangerous as it was – but many still live in fear. (2018, June 29). Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iraq-danger-recovery-isis-war-us-syria-jihadis-a8422571.html