August 24, 2015
The images were seared into our memory. Yazidi men, women, and children leaping into military helicopters delivering aid to those trapped in mountainous Iraq. They were desperate and fearing for their lives as ISIS forced marched in their direction.
In August 2014, ISIS expanded their control in Iraq with a northern offensive against Kurdish religious communities. In the province of Nineveh, home to the ancient biblical city, over 500,000 Yazidis faced a painful decision – stay and brace inevitable torture and execution or flee into the barren mountains. As Kurdish forces conceded the town of Sinjar to militants, over 200,000 fled. Among them, 40,000 Yazidis came along. Many who were unable to make the journey were raped and executed.
Yazidis have long been the subject of persecution by neighboring communities. Mostly located in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, the people live a largely quiet and isolated life. While many in the region follow Islam, the Yazidis closely follow the teachings of Zoroastrianism. They believe that God created the Earth and put it under the care of seven angels. The chief angel, Melek Taus, is known as the “peacock angel” and is said to have fallen from God’s grace but overcame hell. His other name, Shaytan, translates “devil” in Arabic, leading many to see them as devil worshipers.
Just .14% of Yazidis consider themselves evangelical Christians. Their isolated society and geographic location make them an unreached people group. The majority have little or no knowledge of the Gospel. But that is beginning to change.
Through the recent turmoil caused by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, God is doing something remarkable. As the Yazidis flee their homes and arrive as refugees in neighboring countries, they’re coming into contact with Christians, often for the first time. e3 Partners is one of many agencies making a concerted effort to reach them in camps and homes across the Middle East and Europe.
There are a number of ways to connect with what God is doing among the Yazidis.
Pray for them. Many Yazidis are now displaced and homeless. Pray that God will care for their needs and use his people to do it. Ask that he will soften their hearts towards the Gospel and make his love clear to them.
Give. Your support of e3 Partners directly supports our efforts to reach people groups like the Yazidis all over the world. Click here to make a donation.
Go. Expedition teams are leaving throughout the year to the Middle East, specifically working in refugee camps across the region. Click here to see view the calendar.