July 29, 2014 by Josh Evans
A few weekends ago, I stood at the top of a gorgeous waterfall. I was taking a few minutes to relax before continuing my walk and determined something:
Iraq is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
I’m constantly blown away by vistas I never knew existed in this world—much less in Iraq.
Yet in these picturesque locations, I find pristine rivers and mysterious caves populating the same area as abandoned tanks and still-active land mines.
To the cynical mind, this seems typical of a nation haunted by never-ending tabloids of war, conflict, and violence.
And those reports are true—to an extent.
But violence as the full-story is inaccurate because it ignores all the beautiful chapters still being written.
I see glimpses of beauty when Iraqis and Americans gather together in cafes at ungodly hours of the morning to watch a World Cup match; when foreigners share the international language of laughter with their local taxi driver; when “gangs” of kids tear across town on their bikes.
If we only listen to pundits declaring hopelessness, we are really committing our own acts of violence against a people whose story is so much more just brokenness.
In the midst of all that’s collapsing in this country, I choose to tell the other side of the story.
When we become storytellers of forgotten stories, we allow those on the outside to look in and see: all is not lost here.
July 26, 2014 by Alexis Allison
You’ve read the book; you know the story—now what?
We’ve made a list of 10 ways you can show preemptive love:
- 1. Donate A one-time donation can help provide medical supplies to a child who needs them—or even an entire surgery!
- 2. Become a monthly sponsor Sign up and help save an Iraqi child every 22 hours.
- 3. Host an event on/off the Fall Book Tour Bring us to speak at your college, church, or home this fall—click here so we can start planning!
- 4. Host a book club Write us about placing a reduced price bulk order for your book club, church group, etc., and click here to download a copy of our Reading Guide to help start your conversation.
- 5. Start a fundraiser Get creative, pick an amount to raise, and start saving Iraqi kids your own way. Click here to see how you can get involved!
- 6. Write a review on Amazon Tell us (and everyone else) what you think about the book by clicking here.
- 7. Share the book Pass along your copy to someone else, or buy a few more through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes for the book worms and justice-lovers in your life.
- 8. Spread the word Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, and then leverage your social media savvy to influence the people in your circles.
- 9. Buy a shirt Wear your support on your sleeve and introduce a new conversation-starter into your wardrobe—click here to check out our different styles!
- 10. Drop by for a chat If you can’t afford a plane ticket to Iraq, visit us virtually through email—we’ll set up a Skype date and talk about how you want to keep saving lives.
What are you waiting for?
July 25, 2014 by Alexis Allison
After ISIS sent an ultimatum to Christians in Mosul this past weekend, telling them to convert, pay, or die, we decided to dig deeper into the story—as well as the stories of other minorities in Iraq. Here are some articles and reports we’ve referenced along the way.
Who are the minorities in Iraq?
Minorities in Iraq: The Other Victims
This report outlines the histories/struggles of minorities in Iraq, as well as the challenges faced by the government in protecting them.
Iraq: The minorities of Nineveh Plain
A brief, numbers-focused overview of the minority groups in northeastern Iraq.
How is ISIS affecting them?
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Iraq: ISIS Abducting, Killing, Expelling Minorities
A detailed account of ISIS’s violent acts against minorities, broken down by group.
U.N. Denounces Minority Persecution in Iraq
U.N. warns ISIS’s actions against minority might be “crimes against humanity.”
Islamic Extremists Pose New Risks for Religious Minorities in Iraq
Focuses on the challenges, past and present, faced but the Yazidi population.
What happened to Christians in Mosul this weekend?
Isis Tells Iraqi Christians: Convert, Pay ‘Jihad Tax’ or Face Death
Christians flee after ISIS ultimatum.
In Iraq, Christians fleeing Mosul take refuge with Kurds
ISIS’s demands draw response from the Vatican, Iraqi PM.
Anything else we should know?
Iraqi Christians…Persecuted By ISIS While Muslims Rally Alongside Protesting Christians In Baghdad
Iraqi Muslims show support for, solidarity with Iraqi Christians after ISIS ultimatum.
July 24, 2014 by Alexis Allison
As you read this, our five summer interns are on a plane home.
They’ve spent the past two months with us—living and working to save the lives of children in Iraq who desperately need heart surgery.
Here are a few truths they discovered before they left:
“Perspective is everything. Impact is made in little decisions every day. You cannot change the world, but you can change your world.”
“Never make a decision based on fear. Pursuing peace may take us into unknown places, but we don’t have to journey alone.”
“Stereotypes about locations aren’t always right, and traveling around the world is necessary in order to disprove or confirm them. Iraq is a beautiful place filled with great people.”
“Kindness to the person next to you—whether she be Kurd or Arab or boss or intern—should never be conditional on how well you know her or how much you like her. It should just be.”
“I found that wrestling is a posture I should settle into—not shrink back from. I also discovered that stories have compelling power that can be manipulated, and I now have ears that detect when a story begins with “secondly.”
This could be you next summer! We’re looking for passion-filled, vibrant young people who share our vision to love and serve Iraqi families. Check out our internship page here.
July 22, 2014 by Alexis Allison
From the northernmost town on the Turkish border, to the southernmost port on the Persian Gulf—the doctors in our highest impact program (the one we referenced in our recent Urgent Appeal) have saved children from all over Iraq.
Now, these predominantly Shia doctors in the south are opening their hearts and operating rooms to Sunni families who’ve fled from cities like Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah in response to recent violence.
“No one cares if they are Sunni, or Turkish—or any race or belief—what we care about is how to relieve their condition,” said Dr. Munaf, a pediatric cardiac surgeon-in-training.
Since the beginning of 2014, this 39-week, in-country training program in Nasiriyah has provided more than 180 children with heart surgery—and we’ve scheduled 20+ more this week!
The second year of the program is wrapping up soon. In the meantime, the doctors in Nasiriyah continue to battle geographic, ethnic, tribal, and theological differences in the operating room—saving lives along the way.
Click here to help keep this program afloat, investing in these doctors’ all-inclusive, lifesaving work!