Thursday, December 10, 2015, Mercury One’s team in Iraq escorted the first 149 refugees safely into Slovakia, their new home!
We are overwhelmed with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father for granting the team and refugees safety on this mission. And we can’t say thank you enough to each and every one of you who made the evacuation possible by donating to the Nazarene Fund! You helped to make this mission possible.
Earlier this year, we decided to launch the Nazarene Fund to raise $10 million dollars to help Christian families escape ISIS persecution in Iraq (read the Nazarene Fund FAQs here). The outpour of generosity and response from the public was awe-inspiring. Our goal was to reach $10 million by December and move families out before Christmas, but the $10 million mark was hit on October 9 and since then more money has come in that will be used to rescue more families.
OUR VICTORY WAS NOT WITHOUT GREAT RISK
On the night before the planned evacuation, our team ran into trouble. After receiving messages from ISIS threatening to bomb the mass service that the M1 team and refugees were attending on Wednesday evening, the group had to face the reality that they might not make it out alive. They prayed and placed their lives in God’s hands and were empowered by the profound peace, confidence and joy of the refugee families.
On his radio program on Monday, Mercury One spoke about the event and said that the refugee families, who had seen their loved ones beheaded, kidnapped and sold into slavery “…were not afraid. They were determined.” The persecution they have endured has only strengthened their faith and resolve to live for Christ.
SET UP FOR SUCCESS
We want you to know the details of what your money is helping us to accomplish. It is important to us that you understand that we’re not just haphazardly relocating people. We have a strategy and a plan. Our refugees are handpicked from a local Christian pastor in the areas where Christians are being persecuted, then they go through a rigorous screening process to be considered for our program. The process includes multiple interviews and background checks done by specialists. Once they gain refugee status, they enter our refugee program, and unlike many government-funded programs, in our programs, these people are set up for success in the nation that will be their new home.
Once admitted, our refugees pour themselves into learning the language of the country where they will be relocated. Our 353 refugees have worked hard to learn Slovak, the official language of Slovakia. We train the adults in the job market of the area and give them practical skills that will help them succeed. We also work with the local government to ensure that the refugee children will be able to attend school and be successful.
Many supporters have reached out about sponsoring a family, and unfortunately, this is still not possible due to the regulations set by the U.S. State Department. Mercury One has spoken out about this issue, and those looking to take action should go here to find further information regarding the current regulations and what Mercury One is asking supporters to do. The purpose of this material is to educate and inspire. We encourage you to share it with those who may be interested in learning more about our Never Again Is Now mission and the Nazarene Fund.
We want to close this update by asking you to pray for the 204 refugees who are still in ISIS-controlled areas. Pray for safety and that God would provide us with a way to get them out! And may God bless you for your compassion for His people.