Aiding Persecuted Middle East Christians
Following the brutal rise of the Islamic State, an estimated 1.8 million people had been displaced in Iraq with hundreds of thousands seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with little more than the clothes on their backs. Though dispersed into three major cities and some villages in the KRG, most Christians fled to the Christian suburb of Erbil called Ankawa. Here, an estimated 120,000 Christians are living in unfinished buildings with exposed wiring and water leaks, church halls and sanctuaries, gardens and in tents.
They are desperately depending on Christian aid for their survival.
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In June 2014, IS (Islamic State) fighters took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and historically home to many of the Christians and other minorities, causing an estimated 500,000 people to flee in the first week alone. IS then proceeded to take control of the city of Tikrit and later swept across the Nineveh plains . For the first time in two thousand years the church bells are not ringing in Mosul and the Ninevah Plains.
The Christians fled their homelands as they were one of the primary targets of violence; summary executions, forced conversions, kidnappings, torture, rapes, sexual trafficking, looting and destruction of property. Since 2000 Christians in Iraq speak about churches, businesses and homes throughout Iraq becoming the target of coordinated attacks. Kidnappings, as well as verbal and written threats to convert to Islam, pay Jizyah (a tax imposed upon non-Muslims), leave the country or else suffer death, are commonplace reports by the Christians that have fled.
Many mark the events of the past few years as having their origin in February 2008, when the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Mar Paulus Faraj Rahho, was abducted and killed. Other priests and religious figures have also been murdered or kidnapped. The Christians who have fled describe how the Arabic letter ‘nun’, standing for Nazarene, was placed on their homes to mark them as followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
WOC supports faith initiatives in many nations. Through the years, God has faithfully and strategically placed us into relationship with select pastors and organizations on several continents. As a result, we have been able to assist ministers in Africa, Central and South America and the Middle East with their endeavors to expand God’s Kingdom and in the creation of even new opportunities to share the love of God with their people.
Our relationships with these precious workers did not begin casually. God created every partnership and we trust Him for their lives and for their work. In actuality, many risk their lives daily in the places they stand for the Lord. Therefore, it is with intentionality that World Outreach Church continually extends its global arms of evangelism toward the hearts of seekers of the truth of Scripture.
ASELSI in Guatemala
World Outreach Church has been entrusted with many long-term relationships among key Christian organizations and full-time missionaries around the globe, many of whom place their lives in daily danger for the sake of the Gospel. We treasure these associations and endeavor to bless them continually with our friendship, prayers and financial support.
We daily trust the Lord with their lives and their work, just as we do our own. We are making a difference, even to the ends of the earth!
World Outreach Church has been privileged to support John and Sharon Harvey and their work in Guatemala, ASELSI MINISTRIES, almost from its inception. The Harveys, both called to the mission field in their youth, have been ministering to the Mayan Quiché Indians since 1998, just two years after the end of a bloody war that killed tens of thousands and ravaged an entire country the size of the state of Tennessee. John and Sharon have since visited WOC many times. In 2003, they invited George and Betty Jackson to bring a ministry team to their remote mountainous compound in Guatemala. That was the first of many WOC short-term missions endeavors.
The mission of ASELSI MINISTRIES is primarily two-fold: instructive and medical-humanitarian. Their educational focal point is the programmed discipleship of community leaders, most of whom average a third-grade level. In turn, these leaders are trained to disciple others in order to establish strong, passionate and thriving communities of believers. The spiritual challenge is enormous considering many of the local parishioners in this mountainous region still practice animal sacrifice on the steps of their churches. To date, over 750 pastors and leaders have been being spiritually equipped through ASELSI’s various leadership ‘extension’ centers, which now extend into Ecuador.
The medical-humanitarian aid facet of ASELSI’s work concentrates on a medical clinic and ‘milk program’ through the efforts of Father’s Heart Clinic and Health Ministry. Sharon Harvey, as a longtime Registered Nurse, serves as Nursing Director and organizes not only the clinic but also the teams who minister the Gospel while mothers patiently wait to have their babies examined, treated and furnished with much needed milk. Malnourishment is a major problem in this impoverished part of the world. The clinic offers desperately needed physical and spiritual care, with over 10,000 consults per year. The Milk Program touches hundreds of babies each month.
ASELSI’s vision is to teach and disciple pastors and leaders in a practical manner, giving understanding in Bible, theology, and practical ministry, while helping them to develop their character and have ministerial experience. ASELSI provides the tools necessary to extract Bible truths for efficient service in their church and community fueled by Godly passion.
ASELSI’s mission is to equip and enable leaders in the church for ministry with the power of the Holy Spirit and an understanding of the Holy Scriptures, providing them the tools to be anointed and active servants for the body of Christ while helping and serving in their community. Furthermore, they give a vision to the people of God to serve and evangelize the lost through outreaches with teams that come from the United States together with the local churches.
- To be an institute where men and women from all cultures and denominations can be equipped for the ministry to which Christ has called them.
- Strengthening the local church and helping pastors by training their workers.
- To be an institute based on the Bible while not promoting a particular church or denomination; but that teaches the Scriptures together with the local church to develop competent leaders.
- To train church leaders so their personal ministries can be more efficient.
- To train and equip men and women who are called by God to full-time ministry but are not able to leave their community to attend a Bible institute or seminary.
- ASELSI will act as an extension institute for pastors and leaders from the churches for forming and promoting their education and training.
- ASELSI’s students are pastors and leaders in their communities, good instructors, and anointed for teaching and imparting the truths of the Word of God.
- ASELSI’s goal is to be beside the local church and the pastor to help equip an army to respond to the calling that Christ gave and to strengthen the local church through the fortification of the leadership.
- ASELSI’s objective is not to teach the doctrines of the local churches, but to teach biblical truths and methods.
- The objective of the institute is to be interdenominational.
- The institute will provide higher levels of spiritual excellence and education.
World Ministries Opportunities
Being a member of the worldwide Body of Christ is a vivid reality at World Outreach, and reaching across the globe to all Christians is the focus of WOC’s International Ministries. These programs are structured in a manner that anyone can actively serve our cross-cultural Christian global community:
Our first early morning prayer group meets each morning from 6:30 to 7:30 am. They faithfully pray God’s heart for the nations and for Israel. Please join this group every morning you are able! A second morning prayer group meets Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 9:00 am in Three Crosses Sanctuary and is open to all who would come.
International speakers are often scheduled into our weekly activities from various ministries around the world. WOC advertises these special times as they occur through our weekend bulletin and Small Groups. Additionally, WOC’s The Next Chapter Resource Center is a marvelous place to find or order volumes of interest concerning multiple facets of international ministry.
WOC On the Ground – WOC has organized several short-term missions over the last years to Africa, South America and Central America. Two specific destinations have become important medical mission opportunities for our groups: The Peruvian Amazon River Region and El Quiché, Guatemala. All of our team applicants have a history of ministry experience at WOC and have been overseas at least once in their journey. This combination brings forth much good fruit year in the field after year as they come alongside their hosting organizations overseas.
If you have been a part of the church for 6 months or more, and are interested in applying for a short-term missions opportunity, you can apply here.
Global Outreach to Long-Term Missionaries
World Outreach Church has been entrusted with many long-term relationships among key Christian organizations and full-time missionaries around the globe, many of whom place their lives in daily danger for the sake of the Gospel. We treasure these associations and endeavor to bless them continually with our friendship, prayers and financial support. We daily trust the Lord with their lives and their work, just as we do our own. We are making a difference, even to the ends of the earth!