Saturday, January 14, 2005
VETERAN AMERICAN-BORN ASSYRIAN MISSIONARY IN JAPAN ISSUES URGENT APPEAL TO HELP REBUILD IRAQ’S BOMBED CHURCHES
By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries
TOKYO, JAPAN (ANS) -- A veteran American missionary based in Japan has issued an urgent appeal to help rebuild the at least 20 churches in Iraq that have been bombed recently in a series of terror attacks.
The Rev. Kenny Joseph, an American-born Assyrian Christian, has revealed to ANS why he wants Christians around the world to help the believers in Iraq who recently lost their churches to the terrorists.
The Assyrian Christians were the original people of Iraq; the people of Nineveh in the Bible that Jonah came to.
Joseph said, “My Assyrian mother, who was born near Nineveh, never wanted to get married. She wanted to be a missionary after graduation from her Tabriz seminary, but after l80,000 Christians were martyred in one month in 19l7 by the Bin Ladens' of that era, she left her parents and walked for three days over a snowy mountainous region to a Presbyterian compound in Tabriz, Iran. Then she boarded a ship to America and had an arranged marriage in Chicago.
“Fast forward now some 90 years. The same peaceful, benevolent all-compassion Moslems who killed my Christian relatives 90 years ago are now doing it again.
“Reuters and AP have reported the story of many churches and one seminary being bombed just as the people leave church to have a stand-up luncheon. Eleven Christians martyred and many injured. History is repeating itself and the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. To behead a Christian in Allah's name is a sin.”
Joseph said that he promised his mother that he would set up the "Martha Joseph Memorial Bible Campaign."
He went on to say, “In 1991 I was invited to start a new Bible Land Tour going through Iraq’s Garden of Eden, Ur, Babylon, Baghdad, Nineveh and then on to the seven churches spoken of in the book of Revelation in the Bible, and then to come down on the Damascus Road where Jewish Paul was converted in Syria. We helped get in l4,000 Bibles as long as they were kept inside of churches.
“Now recently has come the sad news that a coordinated attack and explosions was made just as the believers were leaving church in Nineveh, Baghdad, etc. We know that the Catholics will take care of their own through Caritas, but we Protestants are disjointed and since my son [Ken Joseph Jr.) helped there in Iraq, this is an emergency request for any funds to re-build these broken churches. Let’s help the families to bury their dead with dignity and the over 160 who are hurting Christians. Everyone from the Pope to a six-year old boy has said, ‘This is wrong.’ So now let’s help them.”
Among the incidents that Joseph was referring were those that took place on Dec. 7, when two attacks destroyed the Armenian-Catholic church of Mosul and the Chaldean Episcopal Palace of that city. They were part of a series of attacks against churches which began in early August, when four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were hit. Others have also bee attacked, totally some 20 churches. Dozens of Christians died in these attacks. Attacks against stores owned by Christians in Iraq started earlier.
One Iraqi Christian recently told ANS that more than 40,000 Christians have left the country because of the terror that they have been living under.
Joseph says that funds from the US can be sent to REAP-Iraq, PO Box 488, La Mirada, CA 90637, USA. For more details on how to send funds from outside the USA, please e-mail the Rev. Kenny Joseph at [email protected] To phone him from the US, dial 81-3-3922-6402. His website can be found at http://kennyjoseph.com