Surely there was SOMETHING I could do? But WHAT? I cried myself to sleep that night deeply moved in intercession for the Yezidi's. Weeks passed and I spasmodically kept praying. I Asked God; "What about this, God?"
I had completed my training that year in Chaplaincy 1 and Disaster Response with Crisis Response International, believing that one day God could use my Emergency & Medical background in the Disaster sphere of influence. One day during the Disaster Training in Virginia, I heard "Katie" share about a Safe House in Kurdistan where the Yezidi women were going through a program to heal them in Jesus name. My heart was touched. I knew that God had "hooked me", like a fish on a fishing line!
Another time I was praying about being involved with the "Safe House", and on the TV directly after I had prayed I saw a Yezidi woman dressed in white holding a placard, demonstrating to the world about the injustices that the Yezidi women were suffering. Not long after that the Director of CRI suggested I contact a fellow YWAM'er who is the Director of the Safe House and take the steps needed to go. I didn't have the finances. I needed $2,800 for airfare and ground fees to go to help at the Safe House. So in faith, I asked God. He has it all. I decided to put out a newsletter to family and friends and to believe that if God had spoken and I heard, loud and clear, He would provide the means for me to go. I held onto Isaiah 52:7 - my life verse...
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns."
- Isaiah 52:7
I am already called to Go and preach the Gospel, but what did He say specifically?
"To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me." - Acts 26:18 (Amplified Version)
That I would be part of "Turning people from Satan to God" and that they would be sanctified by the Holy Spirit…WOW! The finances for me to go came in. One friend from my Bible study had a giant coke bottle full of change. In that coke bottle was $276.00. It ALL helped and it was not just an investment in me "Getting there" but an investment in the lives of the Yezidi women and their Salvation!
My plane soared and circled down into an un-named town in Kurdistan. I was met by staff at the Airport and taken to the Safe House. Kurdistan, Northern Iraq was a shock (after living in Afghanistan where it is very strict and oppressive) I saw women did NOT wear burka's or even head scarfs. They wore jeans and long tops and loved bling. Many beautiful women who were dressed well, wore makeup, and had self respect. Most of them had the most beautiful long naturally straight hair. I did notice there were more men than women everywhere!
There was a few days to prepare before the women came. Our preparation was “Presence”: being in "God's Presence" as a priority. Out of THAT God would move and direct us and speak. God unfolded His plan, no method, but fresh life! Then the women came. Ten women whose ages ranged from ten years to forty-five years old. They came in very fearful and full of shame. All of the women had seen either their husbands murdered and other men and children from their villages, right in front of their eyes. The women were taken to be sex-slaves, some trafficked to Syria, repeatedly sold from man to man and owner to owner.
Through Art & Movement, First Aid, Self Defence, English Language, and Therapy classes, we watched the women begin to soften from the hardness they arrived with. By living in the house with them, we were able to serve and love them. THIS melted their hearts. There was a Graduation ceremony which included washing the women's feet in rose petal water and crowning them with tiara's and treated them as the Princesses that they truly are! Daughters of the King of Kings! True royalty! They received a certificate which is most sought after for a job reference and highly coveted in the refugee camps, (If you have gone through the Safe-House program, you are essentially "The Bees Knees!") We also celebrated with a special meal of Biriyani and ice cream, yummy! We danced the "Shingali" to loud music (ok, I did it for two minutes) and we also gave gifts of new clothing and other treats that women love. YWAM Myrtle Beach gave shells and beautiful shell necklaces as many had never seen the ocean. The Yezidi women had literally graduated out of darkness into light! There was much inner healing as private stories were told and women were embraced as they cried about the abuse, rape, and treatment they had endured, but were met with arms of love as they cried on our shoulders. They were even able to paint their stories of how they were freed or escaped.
Eventually it was time for the women to leave and return to the refugee camp. (There is a second level program being implemented as I write; as there is a waiting list of over 500+ women for this program. Some commit suicide because of the deep bondage they carry from being in captivity before they can even get to the program.) With shouts of "My habibi!" (My love!) "My Herati" (My life!) and much hugs, tears and prayer, the women went on to the next stage of their lives… to being FREE! My life will never be the same. I absolutely loved my time in Kurdistan and want to say thank you to those who prayed and sent me. You have an inheritance in The Yezidi Women! I am looking at returning later in 2016 with Jeff to work in the refugee camp and possibly the Safe House again. Pray for The Yezidi's that "He makes wars cease".
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” - Hebrews 11:32-34