by Laurie Lind, staff writer
Over the course of five years – 2005 to 2010 – in an environment of constant change, turmoil and danger, 14 local Christians – each one an obvious leader – completed a comprehensive discipleship course, led by itinerant Entrust staff members. Those staff members poured themselves into the 14, who in turn are now carrying out varied ministries in the region.
Of the original 14, some are now doing evangelism, others are leading additional groups, some serve in local churches and some minister among refugees. Fuad Nowroz graduated with that group. Layth Ibrahim studied with them for a time. Fuad and Layth are now Entrust staff members.
Fuad Nowroz is one of the 14. He maintains contact with several of his fellow learners from the course, most of whom remain in ministry. Some are involved in evangelism, others are teaching additional groups, some serve in local churches and some among refugees.
Fuad says of himself, “I’m not gifted as a pastor or teacher. My gift is to help the church. I organize. I take care of buildings. I am a helper.”
On the day we reached Fuad by Skype, he had just returned home from a day-long trip to four villages which had just that week been freed by the peshmerga, the Kurdish military, from terrorists. “Those villages are on the front lines,” Fuad says, adding that the destruction he saw “was like a movie.” Fire, smoke, rubble, damage, everywhere. Fuad regularly visits such places, along with visiting refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to assess needs, then match those needs with humanitarian aid. As he visits, he shares the gospel. He lets recipients know the aid they’re receiving is from Christians, from the God of the Bible.
His sharing yields fruit. “Last week, I baptized one of them.”
He launched and leads the House of Hope where men and women receive skills training in order to get jobs to support their families. He also runs an annual family camp to encourage local Christians, provides farming training for men, supports regional schools and hospitals, oversees care for some 2,000 Kakai tribal families and leads the effort to build a church building for one of his fellow Entrust students.
Electricians training at the House of Hope
“I am running in so many ways,” Fuad says with a weary smile. “There are so many needs.”
He’s only one man. But he’s training others. So is Layth Ibrahim.
Before he transitioned from cultural Christian to whole-hearted follower of Christ, Layth hungered to understand theology. He asked a friend to take him to a church. The friend did so, and Layth joined a study of the New Testament’s letters to Timothy. A little over a year later, he responded to the pastor’s invitation to give his life to Jesus at a revival meeting.
From that point on, Layth grew in his faith thanks to “brothers from the same church” who taught and encouraged him, and thanks to his incessant eagerness to learn. He “bought hundreds of books” to study, and led his wife Ilham to Christ. He studied for a time with the 14 leaders in Entrust ministry training.
He now pastors Praise Chapel in Duhok, and has trained over 100 men in the ministries and skills he gained from Entrust training. Some of those men are now pastors, others are ministry leaders who are teaching others. Ilham leads the women’s ministry at the church and led 10 ladies through a women’s ministry training course.
Layth Ibrahim trains ministry leaders in Kurdistan
Entrust’s focus on equipping men and women for leadership in the context of the local church “is why I chose to work with Entrust,” Layth says. “Because this is exactly what the new believers need to grow.”