A letter from Nuhad Tomeh in Lebanon
Advent and Christmas Greetings from Iraq
Read with me I Thessalonians 1:2- 5 and 2:8.
I started writing this letter on Nov 19, 2012, in Erbil, North Iraq, right after the end of the Iraq Partnership Network (IPN) meeting, which took place in Erbil, North Iraq, from Nov. 13 to 19, 2012, after a field visit to Basra in the deep south and Dahouk in the far north.
Twenty-two American Presbyterians led by the Outreach Foundation attended, and the Iraq Partnership Network was assisted by the three mission co-workers of the PC(USA) in the region.
The theme of the consultation was based on the reading above.
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith and your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The purpose of the consultation was to give support and be in prayer with our Presbyterian sisters and brothers in Iraq. Eighteen Presbyterians came from Basra, Baghdad, Mosel, Kirkuk, and Erbil, and the big support for the Iraqis was to have five of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon leadership with them at this difficult time for Syria and Lebanon.
The time of sharing prayers and studying the Word of God was the highlight of this gathering of Presbyterians, all accompanied many times with tears and emotion for the unity we all have in Christ.
One day before the gathering and other sessions was designated for discussion between the Iraq Presbyterians and the Synod for possible unity or union for strengthening the ministry of each other.
The climax of this consultation was to travel by land for one and a half hours to Kirkuk, spend Sunday with the congregation, visit their kindergarten and worship, besides visiting with the Chaldean bishop and of course Presbyterians when they meet they eat.
Being reminded all the time of our sisters and brothers in Syria and what they are going through.
Dear friends in Christ, I cannot but write to ask you to think and pray for your sisters and brothers, the Presbyterians of Syria, who are facing death every day, especially those who are in the midst of violence, such as the people of Aleppo and Damascus. Today I met the Presbyterian pastor of Damascus who happened to be in Lebanon for some Synod meeting and he was very much concerned about his people. And he said to me, "We are in the Darkness; we do not know what is coming up and where we will end up." Please pray for the U.S. that God will bring us another miracle, another baby Jesus, to bring his Peace on earth.
At the same time these pastors are very much involved in helping the displaced and those who lost their homes, their jobs, members of their families. The challenges are bigger than they can cope with. And the resources are very limited.
As the Christmas season is at hand, thousands of Christians and even Muslims (FYI, many Muslims do celebrate Xmas) will not be able to celebrate this blessed event. And they all ask: Peace on Earth? Where is peace? All that is on Earth is war, violence and hatred, killing and kidnapping.
Pray with us and for us here in the Middle East for the King of Peace to bring us His Everlasting Peace.
Along with your prayers, please consider this ministry financially in 2013. Your support will enable me to continue to share the message of Hope and Peace in this troubled region of the Middle East.
P.S: I will be available for interpretation as of mid-December to mid-February 2013. Then in May and September 2013. Please feel free to contact me for scheduling a visit to share this important ministry.
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 298
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306
Read more about Nuhad Tomeh's ministry