By Mark Ellis –
In the honor-shame culture of the Middle East, if a woman is raped it brings shame upon the family and they have a duty to kill her.
“She is killed twice, once by rape and once by her family,” says Brother George*, a church planter in the Middle East working with Novo. “(They think) rape is a shame and they have to wash the shame to restore honor, so they kill her.
“Once she is killed, the only thing the police can do is hold the husband or father or brother for 24 hours just to prove it is an honor crime and that’s it,” he explains.
In 2014, ISIS invaded villages in northern Iraq and took thousands of Yazidi and Christian women as sex slaves. But as ISIS fell apart more recently, those women were able to escape. “They couldn’t come home because they would be killed,” Brother George says. “They put them in a camp because if they went home they would be killed.”
One Yazidi man shared his story with Brother George. He has five children, two boys and three daughters. All three girls were taken as slaves by ISIS. The oldest was 22. One of his two sons was killed by ISIS and the other is missing.
One night the Yazidi man went to sleep saw Jesus in his dream. He recognized Jesus because He showed the man His nail-pierced hands.
Jesus told the man: You don’t need to kill your daughters or anyone. I paid for everyone, so go get your daughters.
“The man woke up and thought this can’t be real. He went back to sleep and had the exact same dream.”
Then he woke up again, went back to sleep, and had the same dream a third time. “It was one dream for every girl he had.”
In the morning he gathered the (Yazidi) elders and told them what happened.
“Jesus showed up in my tent,” he declared to their astonishment. “I’m going to get my girls and nobody is going to touch them.”
Because of Jesus, he was able to successfully extract his girls from the camp, bring them home safely, and persuade the other Yazidi men to take back their daughters without harming them.
“Six weeks later the camp closed and all the (280) girls went back to their families. This is what the gospel does.”
Now there are many Yazidi young women who visit Novo regularly and receive counseling for trauma healing and discipleship training.
To learn more about the work of Novo, go here