On 31 July, various leaders from different churches gathered in an intimate setting to listen and understand through Willy’s personal journey and sharing on how the Singapore church can come alongside those in the last frontier of the Middle East.
Willy, the CEO of a non-profit organisation operating in the Middle East, provided us with a greater insight on the plight of the Yazidi people. Primarily serving the Yazidi people in the Kurdish region of Iraq, the organisation provides humanitarian relief and development.
From the beginning of their existence, the Yazidi people, a very close-knit community, have been persecuted for their religious beliefs. In August 2014, ISIS militants invaded and attacked the town of Sinjar and its surrounding area. The invasion resulted in forced conversion, mass execution of thousands of Yazidi men and mass abduction of Yazidi women and children taken captive as sex slaves and other atrocities committed.
Five years on, the aftermath of the genocide has profoundly affected the Yazidi people on a level that we are unable to fathom. Willy shared that the level of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that we understand cannot be compared to the realities that the Yazidi people go through.
For those who have managed to escape, they now live in temporary shelters and tents. There are about 20,000 living in refugee camps, still unable to return to their homes.
Furthermore, Willy shared that various NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have exited the region over the years. There is a great need for healthcare workers such as general practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecologists, physical and occupational therapists, mental health workers, children workers and English teachers.
The one thing that stood out to me the most from the session was Willy’s call for labourers to the mission field. While there is nothing wrong with contributing financially, the actual labour in the mission field is just as crucial and vital.
When we as the body of Christ come together to serve alongside the refugees and the internally displaced, we will be able to achieve a lot more together as we serve and reflect Jesus’s love for them.
The harvest is plentiful but the number of labourers is few in the field indeed. To be a labourer is to be intentional, involving lots of sacrifice and dying to ourselves regularly. It is to journey alongside those whom we serve through it all.
Will you answer the call to be a labourer?