(CNS NEWS) — By Michael W. Chapman
During his recent trip to Iraq to celebrate Easter, Reverend Franklin Graham visited the city of Qaraqosh, where in 2014 some 50,000 Christians were forced to flee because of attacks from the Islamic State and where today only about 7 families remain. Because of radical Islam, most of Iraq’s Christian “congregations are now dispersed all over the world,” he said.
In an April 16 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, “Yesterday we went to the city of Qaraqosh, in Iraq, which used to be home to some 50,000 Christians who were forced to flee for their lives in 2014. Now just a handful, about 7 families, remain.”
“I visited a church that had been burned and destroyed by ISIS and met with the pastor,” said Graham. “Incredibly, in the ashes and debris, we discovered one of our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that had been given to a child there at some point. I couldn’t help but wonder where the child who received this box is today.”
“My heart goes out to the pastors in this region,” he said. “Most of their congregations are now dispersed all over the world. As shepherds they want to be able to help their flocks. They want to be able to care for them and protect them, but until there’s a political settlement there’s no way this is going to happen.”
“Will you join me in praying for them?” said Rev. Graham.
He continued, “We also found charred pages from a Bible. I picked up a section that contained John 20:27 – ‘Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ He’s still saying that to the world today—this Easter Sunday—Believe!”
Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse.