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Iraqis form Baptist Union, elect moderator;
15 to 20 believers in Baghdad await baptism

MIDDLE EAST (BP)–In a historic move, Arab Baptists in Iraq have elected a moderator* who has the support of Baptists in other Arab countries to set up a center for ministry in Baghdad.

Though the Catholic and Orthodox churches have had a long-standing presence in Iraq, the formation of a Baptist Union is a first for Iraqi Baptists. These evangelicals are seeking to practice their faith openly in this mostly Muslim country that is experiencing some newly found freedoms since the liberation efforts of Coalition forces began.

In a special presentation, the newly elected moderator told a group of relief workers that God has prepared him to return to his native homeland of Iraq where 15-20 believers are awaiting baptism, and one leader will soon be ordained to the Gospel ministry.

Quoting Genesis 32:9-10, Fadi* said he and his family will claim the promise God gave to Jacob. “… O Lord, who didst say to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant…”

Fadi said he has been impressed by the support he has received from other evangelical Christians throughout the world.

“Love is evident from people who come from all the corners of the world to partner with those in Iraq,” he said. “The love of Christ makes us all friends.”

Up to this point in history, Fadi said work in Iraq has been accomplished only with “one eye on ministry and the other eye on Saddam Hussein.”

Asking for prayer that God will provide wise leaders, Fadi said he is hoping others will soon see the fruits of the ministry in Baghdad.

“I am hoping God’s message will penetrate not only Iraq, but the whole Middle East,” said Fadi.
* In our report he is referred to as Fadi, but his actual name and details about this ministry have been withheld due to security concerns arising from increased tensions in Iraq related to the bombing of the United Nations building in late August and threats to relief workers. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photos Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: OPEN DOOR.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan