Iraqi Christians Flee ISIS, Find Refuge in Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan -- As ISIS continues advancing through Syria and Iraq, it's leaving tens of thousands of refugees and shattered lives in its wake. Some Christians who fled the Islamic State are trying to rebuild their lives.
For Ammar and his family, the bell tolled at midnight.
"Very strange [that] bells ring at this time," Ammar recalled. "So the loudspeakers belong to [the] church [and] the loudspeakers call out, 'All of you, go out from Quaraqosh. ISIS is coming and there is no one to protect you.' So I take my family, my wife, my children and go."
Like the rest of those in the Christian village of about 60,000, Ammar's family fled for their lives. Many headed to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan. Others escaped to Dahouk, a Kurdish city near the Turkish border.
Months later, some have made it to Amman, Jordan's capital, and its surrounding towns.
"Until now we can't even imagine this happening to us," a refugee named Raged told CBN News. "It's like a dream. Everything was so normal. Our life was so comfortable and suddenly everything changed."
Lives changed by terrorists with a deadly goal.
"They don't want any Christians to live in Iraq," Raged explained. "They want to kill them all or have them leave or become a Muslim."
But they escaped their tormentors and they give all the credit to God.
"Jesus made for us a miracle -- is saved my family," another Christian refugee named Kareem told CBN News. "I have a wife and three daughters. He saved! Jesus saved them from ISIS."
While they're still without a country, these families fared better than most. They live in a nice apartment, thanks to help from an Anglican priest known as the Vicar of Baghdad.
His name is Canon Andrew White. His organization, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, provides homes and other help for refugees.
"We need provision but we also need protection because each of us has come from such a violent place," Canon told CBN News. "I doubt there's a child in this class who has not had their loved ones killed."
Many Iraqi Christians who fled found refuge in Jordan. Most of the school children come from Mosul, ancient Nineveh, and surrounding Christian villages and towns in northern Iraq. Nearly everyone here fled because of ISIS.
The school brought hope.
"They had nothing and now they have structure to their life and hope for the future," White said.
Through all the trauma and heartache, their faith remains firm.
"In the United States and the West, people need to know that these people have nothing, but they have everything because they know that Issua[Aramaic], Jesus, is real and central to their lives," he added.
The children continue to sing the Lord 's Prayer in Aramaic. Families continue to read their Bibles. And given the choice to deny the Lord, they refused.
"He died for us on the Cross. I can't deny Jesus. I can't deny Him," a Christian named Seham told CBN News.
For now, they look to the United Nations and other nations for help and to the Church for prayer.
"Pray for us. We are in a very hard situation here," Ammar said. "Me, I am good. But there is [sic] so many living in camps, in Erbil, in Iraq, here in Jordan. Life is very difficult, especially here in Jordan; there is no work. We are not allowed to work, the Iraqi people. So we want them to pray for us."