Within A Yard Of Hell

Kurdish Peshmerge holding the line against ISIS
Kurdish Peshmerga holding the line against ISIS


Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;

I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell. -C.T. Studd


The “Hot” Border is the current battle line between the Kurdish Peshmerga and ISIS forces. This is where the fighting is. At one point it was fearfully close to the Kurdistan border. I saw ISIS insurgents on the news standing next to a road sign to Duhok that we pass by regularly on our way to Erbil. The Kurdish forces, at this writing, have pushed them back about twenty miles from the Kurdish border. Not very far when you consider the intensity of fighting and the heavy weapons involved. For the people who live here, this is like living within a yard of hell. There seems to be no end to the unbelievable atrocities going on only a short distance away; the terrors of which have caused over a million people to flee into Kurdistan for sanctuary.

While the world is focused on the fighting and the horrors taking place, there’s an intrepid little band of Christians led by Pastor Layth Ibrahim who are fighting their own battle to get aid to desperate IDPs (internally Displaced Persons). Technically refugees are those who flee from one country into another. IDPs are refugees within their own country. There’s a small village where a desperate mix of Christian, Muslim and Yezedi IDPs are in serious need. All together they number about 75 families. I decline to give the name of this village for obvious reasons; the fighting is not that far away, that and the fact that ISIS is very proficient at using social media. We don’t want to draw attention to these already vulnerable people. Terrorists love soft targets, those not strong enough to fight back.

Pastor Layth and his earnest band of believers have brought in a van load of urgently needed supplies. They’ve also found, “a man of peace,” in the village who has opened his home to hold house church meetings. This is risky business for Pastor Layth and his team as well as the villagers if the insurgent forces are able to break through the current zone of protection. A group of missionaries farther south as well as a number of pastors have already been killed. There are many reports of mass executions, crucifixions and the beheading of Christian men, women and children. The Yezedi Kurds have fared no better.

The courage and compassion of our brethren is highly commendable, a testimony of honor for all of us. Their efforts bring glory to the LORD and speak well of HIS kingdom. These are men who hazard their lives for the sake of the Gospel, who labor in the darkest of times to bring the light of Christ back to the lands where it first shined forth into all the world. I believe in them; that God’s grace is with and over them. I believe that they’re going to prevail and that we’re going to see one of history’s great moves of God.

For those who may find themselves dwelling in the camp of the naysayers, I ask, How did you come to be there? Where has your faith gone? When did your heart die within you? Was it replaced with the stony pragmatic cynicism of the day?

“These are the days of Elijah, Declaring the Word of The LORD”



     I want to challenge you. Let’s stand with our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Big changes have already taken place and bigger changes are coming. We need to see with eyes of faith to understand what’s happening in the Middle East. The landscape is changing, some for the worse but some for the better. We need to pray for the Kurds and for Kurdistan right now, for the future and prophetic destiny God has in mind for them, which I feel is about to unfold. We need to pray and stand with our brethren to help them build the future GOD is putting into their hands. They know what they are doing, I believe they have the mind of God … and, we’re part of the plan. The Lord means us, as believers, to get behind them. What’s going on right now is much bigger that any missionary projects or outreaches we’ve done. This, dare we believe it, has the potential to change the balance of history.




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Published by Jack Harris | JHmin.com

Jack Harris is an Ordained Minister, PCI Missionary Evangelist and Humanitarian Aid Director. He is the founder and director of Jack Harris Ministries, an international outreach ministry.

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