The occupation of large parts of Iraq by so-called Islamic State (IS) has had a traumatising impact on many people, including Christians. In some places, this has been exacerbated by the stigma surrounding mental health. But thanks to initiatives run by Open Doors local partners, people are beginning to find healing – including Vian, who is now looking to help others overcome their trauma and pain.
Vian is taking a two-year trauma counselling training course at a Centre of Hope run by Open Doors partners. She’ll be able to support many persecuted Christians in Iraq, who have suffered because of so-called Islamic State. “I want to help people realise that others are thinking about them, that people are for them,” Vian says.
“I can reflect the presence of God and help someone out of their sorrow,” shares Vian, who serves at the trauma centre in Al Kosh and is six months into the two-year counselling course. She is one of 30 people currently taking the course.
“I meet a lot of people who just need someone to listen to them, clear their minds. I want to take people outside of their box, let them look at their problem from another angle. I won’t give people the solutions, because there is no one who knows their life better than themselves, but I will help them to find that solution or answer they are looking for.”
For Vian, the course helps people find peace not just in themselves but with others. “One of the most important things that I learned in the school is co-existing,” she explains. “I was previously not able to be in the same room with certain people, but now I can. It is also one of the things we do in the centre – help people to co-exist again, with their family and with wider society.”
With your continued prayers and support, Open Doors local partners will continue to walk beside the Christian community in Iraq, helping enable the local church to be a beacon of hope in the war-torn country.
That many people will discover healing through the new initiatives
That Open Doors local partners will be given wisdom and encouragement in all their work serving persecuted Christians in Iraq.
That Vian and other caregivers will be nourished and equipped as they seek to help others
and help make hope last across the Middle East.Do that here
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