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10/03/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When ISIS attacked Qaraqosh in 2014, thousands of Christians fled in fear. Those unable to flee, including an elderly woman named Latoya, were forced to live under ISIS’s brutal rule. Even as Qaraqosh returns to life, Latoya’s living conditions have barely improved since her time under ISIS control. Our staff on the ground heard about Latoya’s story, and were deeply moved by her hardships.

Two months after ISIS attacked Qaraqosh and took it from the Kurds, they decided to send us to Mosul. Our eyes [were] covered in addition to the depression we felt deep in our hearts,” Latoya tearfully told International Christian Concern (ICC).

She recalled, “We didn’t have a shower, no water; we used to collect rain drops and drink it.” She shared how an ISIS militant shared chicken with the few Christians left in captivity. He told them he was forced to join ISIS and that he loved Christians. He promised he would never hurt the women, unless it was under duress.

Latoya and another woman who died before the liberation stayed in an ISIS prison in Mosul for days before other Muslims inside the prison began defending Latoya and her friend. The ISIS judge then decided to send them back to Qaraqosh.

Fifteen days before Qaraqosh’s liberation from ISIS in 2016, Latoya could “smell that the city was burning.” She recalled how they “were terrified and thought that they are coming to burn us too. After four hours, we got out and found that there is nobody in Qaraqosh.”

As people began returning home to Qaraqosh, nobody helped Latoya rebuild her life despite her advanced age. Her brother, who had no income, tried to take care of her. After seeing her living conditions and hearing her story, ICC decided to provide her with relief from this hard reality.

ICC supported Latoya by purchasing basic household necessities. When we went to the market to purchase these items, the shop owners were moved to kindness and lowered their prices so we could purchase the highest quality items. We were able to deliver a water dispenser, refrigerator, heater, stove, washing machine, table, mattress, and bedding set to Latoya.

Beyond the physical support, ICC supported Latoya emotionally and spiritually, reminding her that her brothers and sisters in Christ around the world care for her.

Looking back on the support, Latoya marveled, “This is the first time for us experiencing an organization helping us with our needs. You come without promises, but you did your best to help. On the other side, so many people came and made promises to help us and not one of them kept his promise.

She asked for continued prayer for her city, which remains heavily damaged by ISIS. The pain of living under ISIS captivity remains a heavy burden on her heart. Pray that she will continue to experience healing from this traumatic experience and that her faith will be strengthened.

For interviews with Claire Evans, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]