Early one morning, Joumana's family was awakened by a loud explosion ripping through their town of Qaraqosh, Iraq.
Though many other families had already left Qaraqosh, Joumana and her mother Jandark had chosen to remain in their home. But the violence had come. Their town was under attack, and ISIS would soon be on their doorstep.
Joumana and Jandark quickly packed their belongings, and held on to hope that they would still have a home to come back to.
"I prepared my bag, but I didn't expect to be gone longer than a week," Jandark explains. "When I left, I left the door unlocked so ISIS wouldn't break it. I had a cross and prayed, 'Jesus, why is this happening to us?'"
Restoring hope in the land where Christianity began
We launched our Hope for the Middle East campaign in 2016 as a response to the horrors inflicted by ISIS, as well as reports we were hearing from partners throughout the region.
During ISIS attacks, Christians were killed, brutalized, enslaved and forced from their homes. Houses and churches were burned to the ground. Many Christians, like Joumana and Jandark, who fled their towns wondered:
Is there anything worth coming back to?
After many long months, Joumana and Jandark returned to their home in Qaraqosh.
Jandark's cross, which she had left behind, had been broken into four pieces. The rest of the house had been ransacked or destroyed.
Joumana adds, "It was a mess. All of our things were stolen and some parts of the house were burned."
Thanks to Open Doors' partners on the ground, Joumana and Jandark received food, oil and help with rent when they were displaced, and are now getting help to reconstruct their house in Qaraqosh. Across the Middle East, the work of rebuilding will be ongoing, but there is hope.