Iraqi Christians are holding on to their faith in God as they plan to revive a town that was ravaged by the Islamic State.
Around 60,000 people fled from the Christian town of Qaraqosh when ISIS took over the region in August 2014. Some of the Iraqi Christians are now seeing the devastation left by the terrorist group after the town was liberated by the Kurdish militia a few weeks ago.
Sister Diana, a Dominican nun, recently paid a visit to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and saw how the Islamic radicals desecrated the building.
“This is considered the largest church for us in the Middle East. We do all our worship in here. I would say my parents got married here. We had our first Communion here and we used to worship every single day during feast days, Christmas (and) Easter,” she told CBN.
Diana explained that ISIS gathered the benches in the middle of the church and set fire to them. She also pointed out that the terror group has removed the crosses from the church in its attempt to destroy all symbols of Christianity.
She noted that the church courtyard had been turned into a training ground and used for target practice. Thousands of books from the convent were turned into a pile of ashes.
In other parts of the town, many of the houses owned by Christians have been burned while other buildings were riddled with ISIS graffiti. One of graffitis on a wall reads, “We destroyed your crosses; we beheaded you, you infidels.”
Diana said that the villagers need some assurance that they would be protected before they could return to Qaraqosh. A Christian militia known as the Nineveh Protection Unit is tasked to protect the town, but one Kurdish soldier said that they need more help.
Some villagers have said that they would not have the means to rebuild even if it would be safe to return to Qaraqosh. Dhia Roufa, a former resident, told Reuters that her livelihood had been destroyed and all her savings have been spent.
“I am 64 years old. If I were young I could start again, but at this age what can I do?” she said.
Diana is worried that the Christian families might be discouraged from staying in the area. She is asking for prayers that the families will remain strong in their faith as more Christians return to the village.
“No matter what they do they can’t defeat God and the glory of this church and this town is coming back. Sooner or later, God has promises for a better life, and you know what, we’re going to look for that promise,” Diana told CBN.
Source: The Christian Times