In November, I wrote about a wonderful and necessarily hush-hush operation simply known as the Nazarene Fund. It has many projects, including supporting our vets, helping to protect Israel, disaster response, and feeding the hungry. However, for obvious reasons the details had to be necessarily sketchy regarding the plan to rescue Iraqi Christians from extermination at the hands of ISIS.
I am so pleased to report that they have gotten out, they are safe, and they are profoundly grateful. The footage I have seen of their “homecoming” has been its own Christmas gift, and my prayer is that this will be the first of many “ops.”
And where did they land? Who took them in and put signs up in the airport that said, “Welcome Home?” The tiny nation of Slovakia. Now granted, the lion’s share of the 13 million dollars it took to get this first wave safely out of Iraq was donated by Americans, and everyone that was part of the American team said the experience was transformational. But it was Slovakia, which has certainly seen more than its fair share of war and oppression during its history, who chose to open its doors to strangers that are brothers and sisters in Christ.
One woman, whose name is Ellen, had the following to say about how she was affected by the welcoming nation and those being welcomed:
“We have been rewarded beyond belief by being allowed to stay in Slovakia. Thank you for letting us be here to see the Iraqi Christian refugees come home. That is how things were greeted [sic] when they came to Slovakia, “Welcome Home.” This is one of the greatest times I have ever spent. Spiritual, uplifting, crushing, expanding! To witness these refugees who are willing to give up everything in life to gain everything eternal, is a miracle. I’m awed by the grace of the Slovakian people. I am inspired by the Slovakian government and their willingness to step up to the challenge other nations are turning a blind eye to. I am humbled and reborn by the strength of my Iraqi brothers and sisters. Today we are all one family in Christ. He loves and watches over us all. And expects us to watch over each other.”
I am going to resist the temptation to spend much time contrasting the response of the Slovakian government to that of our own, other than to say that several churches in America, who have the resources to sponsor families, have been turned down by our State Department.
And I won’t discuss at length the fact that ISIS has put threats in the mailboxes of Swedes that give them three choices: 1. Convert to Islam 2. Pay the “protection tax” 3. Or be beheaded in three days. This is Sweden, whose king stood firm against the Nazis during WWII, and providentially, the nation was not destroyed.
No, those rants will have to wait. For now, I am going to thank God the Iraqis are safe, and rejoice that in one tiny corner of a brave, tiny nation, there is peace on earth, and goodwill toward men. Merry Christmas, dear readers, and a Happy New Year! Keep on shining on.