There is a special bond that happens between believers when they are able to gather together, face-to-face and share trials and triumphs. When those believers are also survivors of religious persecution in a Muslim country, healing takes place as they worship together as the Body of Christ.
Our Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team witnessed this special ministry and these special bonds being created up close and personal at our recent Spiritual Retreat for Iraqi women.
God’s Vision for a Women’s Spiritual Retreat
A few months ago, our local Field Ministry Team leader in Iraq, Rema, shared her heart and vision for a women’s retreat in her home country. Rema shared that her prayer is for these women to be healed and liberated to “arise and shine,” becoming light to others. She envisioned a Spiritual Retreat that granted persecuted women a new spiritual start after the pandemic and for them to be encouraged to serve the Lord again, in fellowship as the Body of Christ.
When 80 Iraqi women gathered for our Spiritual Retreat, Rema’s prayers, and ours . . . and yours, were answered.
First Church Experience for Many Attendees
These 80 women were converts to Christianity, from both Muslim and Yazidi faith backgrounds. For many in attendance, this was the first time they had met together with others for prayer and worship—their first communal church experience.
For three days, the women shared about their traumas, insecurities, and prayed together in separate groups to strengthen their relationships and come together as one unit.
One woman from a Yazidi background, shared with our Field Ministry Team: “I woke up today wanting to pray with someone, and you came asking if you can pray with me. I feel renewed that I now have someone to pray with.”
During our time together, we heard incredible stories of God’s faithfulness in the lives of these women and their families. Stories like Hafsa’s:
Hafsa is from a Muslim family in Baghdad. She moved around a lot as a child to escape abuse in her home and ended up married and pregnant at 14. Through a series of dreams and visions, she came to follow Jesus Christ. Her parents threatened to place her in a psychiatric hospital or kill her if she did not revert to Islam, and her husband threatened to take her children away. But the Lord confirmed to her that He has been watching her throughout her life, so Hafsa decided to move to another town with her daughters and continue to pursue her life in Christ.
Hafsa carries a tremendous amount of grief and is seeking the Lord for healing — and she met with the Lord at our Spiritual Retreat, where she received discipleship, community, Biblical counseling, and a dedicated time for worship.
The Benefit of a Spiritual Retreat
These retreats allow us to invest in the lives of persecuted men, women, and children in life-changing ways.
Retreats are held in secure locations, away from harsh living conditions and the eyes of the secret police, where attendees feel safe and cared for. Attendees are nourished—body and soul—as they participate in intense Bible study, refreshing worship, and as they learn to have a deeper focus on the love of Christ.
One woman who attended this retreat is also living in our nearby Safe House with her family. She was overwhelmed with thankfulness for Help The Persecuted and said her faith is growing and she looks forward to sharing Christ with others.
Another woman told our team through tears:
“The retreat taught me what it is like to be loved and valued by God and others. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Time and time again we see that attendees come in broken, weary, fearful—mourning the suffering, trauma, and loss they’ve experienced. Yet, through God’s grace and power, after just a few days, a distinct, palpable transformation occurs. Hope-filled smiles and laughter. Healing of past wounds. Restoration of soul and spirit. A new-found passion for life.
Each day, attendees hear from Biblically trained speakers and counselors, discipling them with God’s Word and equipping them to re-enter their daily life with assurance and strength of faith.
Your Partnership Changes Futures
Thank you for your partnership with us that provides Spiritual Retreats. Your gift of support helps us cover the costs of:
- Accommodations and meals
- Conference room space for meetings
- Discipleship materials and staffing
As we eagerly anticipate and plan our upcoming Spiritual Retreats in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, we keep in mind the testimonies of our sisters in Iraq—to provide a space and a time to arise and shine in the light of God’s love.
Join us in supporting persecuted Christians at our upcoming Spiritual Retreats.