Refugee Stories: Teenage girl speaks out, “Save my friends”

refugee stories Iraq

 Her voice wavers when I ask her about her family.“I miss them. Everyday that’s all I think about.”But the 19-year old is in contact with her brother and parents regularly from an undisclosed location in Iraq. She doesn’t want her picture taken so she can protect them.Protection runs both ways. Rita Tamur is still alive and free today because her family wanted to protect her.When Daesh occupied their town near Mosul, Iraq last summer, her family was targeted for their Chr … [Read more...]

I am afraid {Does that make me a bad person?}


Since the Paris attack, this could be called the season of fear. Multiple terrorists’ threats, continued taunts from the enemy, and the realization that life for all us is more complicated as we wrestle with right and wrong, compassion and security, love and dread.We are emotionally driven by fear these days. And it’s amazing what that produces – Irrational thought, knee-jerk reactions, and overreaching decisions. But it’s understandable when we feel threatened.Think about your job. How m … [Read more...]

Syrian refugee: “I saw my father killed on YouTube”

syrian refugee

Yes, he is Syrian. And he’s one of the Christian refugees who carries the hope that he and his family can immigrate. They cannot go home because there is no home.He carries himself like an athlete – upright, strong and proud. 28 year-old Sha’ady Majain doesn’t look like he changes his mind once it’s made up.But war has a way of determining direction, regardless of will.He and his young family lived in Faryouzh, a Christian area in the city of Homs, Syria. The neighborhood found it … [Read more...]

Kneejerk: The Paris attacks are bad news for Christian refugees

Photo David Rupert 2015

With the terrible news of nearly 150 people killed in the Parisian terrorist attacks last week, the fate of thousands of Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq are further complicated.It's understandable. Lives are gone and families are changed forever. There is pain and anguish and the natural reaction is to begin to look for those responsible.  Every nation is reviewing how such a thing could happen -- and what they need to do to prevent an occurrence within their own borders. Persecuted: … [Read more...]

Wedding plans interrupted by war, but their love prevails

Their wedding plans were stopped by terror, but their love prevailed. "We don't give up"

They all wore crosses as they leaned in, talking rapidly as the translator tried to keep me in the conversation.Their words were passionate and real. They had lived through hell as a family and were happy to be on the other side of it. And yes, they wanted to talk about it. Qusai looked at his sister, Raneen, wondering just where to start. Their spouses, Zaina and Wesam were ready to talk too, but finding proper words to describe a life in turmoil didn't come so easilyIt wasn’t just the f … [Read more...]

Refugee Stories: “Whenever I look in my baby’s face, I think of home.”

Baby Damascus

The baby coos and smiles at the kitten that walks into the room. Her cherub face is full of innocence as she glances up at her mother. She squeezes the baby tight to her body. There is no fear in the little one’s eyes, only wonder. She has no idea what her mother went through to be at this point.The mother, Sajaa is just 20 years old, but has already lived a lifetime of danger. She and her two sisters, Mariam, 27, and Doha, 23, sat on the couch and laughed like sisters do. Their heads w … [Read more...]

Refugees — 10 days of hearing their stories

@D. Rupert

I was like a man walking into the desert without a plan.As a writer, it’s hard not to think ahead about plot lines and the twists that lead to the explosive ending. I wanted to develop a lead and an outline before I even boarded an airplane. I wanted to write the story and just fill in the blanks along the way. But I committed to sit back and let God write the story, to prepare the steps and the people along the way.He did.If you don't know, I spent 10 days in Jordan, visiting and i … [Read more...]

Refugee Stories: “The straw that broke the camel’s back”

Photo D. Rupert

Bassam Jacob lived in a mixed neighborhood in central Baghdad. For his whole life he watched Shite and Sunni Muslims vie for power. Usually it was at the expense of each other, but sometimes it was the Christian minority that suffered injury or loss of life and property.It was a way of life.According to Bassam, the situation was already terrible in Baghdad. The school had closed down. People were routinely killed. Basic commodities like food and fuel were increasingly in short … [Read more...]

Ancient Christian town, silenced for centuries, comes alive with refugee church


The Syrian crisis is a humanitarian issue that should rivet the world. Political leaders, thinkers, religious figures and aid workers should come together and figure how to end the dismantling of a once prosperous and free country. But God isn’t waiting for any those things before He acts. I’m here in Jordan listening and observing, to see how God is at work in two different refugee fronts – the ISIS situation in Northern Iraq and other states and the Syrian Civil War. Here’s the headline after j … [Read more...]

This Syrian family is looking for home


His name is Jack. It’s not a typical Middle Eastern name, sounding more like a New Englander instead of a kid from Aleppo, Syria.He’s 12 and he lights up the room. He misses his friends. His toys. His grandmother.Just nine months ago his family left everything in Syria. According to his dad, Albert, their refugee status isn’t economic. It isn’t out of convenience as some in the media want us to believe.They were targeted for their faith.“I had a good job as a mechanical engine … [Read more...]