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Open Doors Women - Regional Focus - Middle East

(Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.)
Region/country information:

The Middle East has been an extremely volatile region over the last five years, and Christian communities are particularly vulnerable due to the rise of Islamic extremism in places like Iraq, Syria and the flow on effects in neighbouring countries. Many women in the region have suffered great loss – with husbands, brothers, sons and other family members fleeing to find work or safety, or being injured or killed. It is especially hard for young single Christian women to find a suitable partner. Due to the effects of war, many luxuries are gone, and women struggle with the burden of daily chores without resources like water, appliances and access to services. They are also have responsibilities outside the home, including church ministry, helping neighbours and filling gaps in the community of people who have left or been killed. When women come to faith in an unsupportive family environment, they often have to face the difficult choice to give up their faith or their family. Open Doors is working with the local church to support displaced people, including women who have fled their homes due to war or persecution. Open Doors is also involved in many projects that help restore hope and provide new opportunities to support themselves.

(Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.)


Halimah (pseudonym) was born in Iraq more than forty years ago. When she was seven-years-old the Iraqi war started. Her childhood took place in a time of war, and because of that war, she and her family had to flee the country.

Halima is now one of Open Doors’ women’s trainers. “The women know that I teach from my own experience.”

“One of the women said to me, ‘Our brothers left, now we find ourselves doing things we did not do before as women. We even grow muscles because we’re carrying water to our homes and doing men’s jobs.’ You know, young women are often the only ones who stayed in the country to take care of their parents. It’s not easy for women. Many feel they have been left behind, left alone.”

She says that many women in Syria ask themselves how long they will be able to stay.

“Almost all the women are working not only to sustain themselves but also to support their wider family. Many of them are depressed, they don’t know what to do. The only thing that keeps them going is their faith. Faith can lift us up. These women are the real survivors. They are strong. Without their faith they wouldn’t make it.”

Although the situation is tough in Syria, Halimah believes that something good can come out of it. “God is able to do everything. You can see in history that in countries that went through wars, women came out of these wars different. In the war they were pushed to do things they hadn’t done before like what we see happening in Syria right now: women driving taxis, tractors or trucks. At the end a crisis leads to development. A crisis is hard, but on the other hand it is an opportunity.”

“What I always try to pass on to the women is to never give up, to keep trusting God, and to keep standing strong. I urge them to keep their eyes upon Jesus, to always try again, and to never give up. One might face a lot of challenges, but that is what life is like, it’s full of challenges. I say: ‘Take up the stones they throw at you and build bridges with them. God can use all of your challenges if you really believe and keep trusting Him.’” Pray:

  • Pray for women in the Middle East who are isolated and may be without family, friends and fellowship.

  • Pray that they may hold onto their faith in Christ.

  • Pray that God would provide training for women who need encouragement and opportunities to serve and witness in their community.

  • Pray for various safe house ministries to support those who have difficult relationships with their families.

  • Pray that they may find peace and hope in a new season.

For more information or to donate to the work of Open Doors Women Australia, please visit their site here

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