The book of Jonah records the account of the first missionary. It happened
in the 8th Century B. C., and although Jonah is best known as the reluctant
preacher who was swallowed by a great fish, his ancient Biblical account
takes on an especially meaningful air when we consider its significance
to the events of today. The city that repented as a result of Jonah’s preaching
was Nineveh, the ruins of which are located near the city of Mosul in Northern
Mosul hosts a persecuted group—Assyrian Christians—descendents of those
to whom Jonah preached. They claim to be the first nation to adopt Christianity
as their state religion (even before Constantine declared Rome a Christian
state) and they also boast of being the first to translate the New Testament
from Greek into their vernacular, which was, and is, ironically, Aramaic—
the language of Jesus Christ himself.
Assyrian Christians live as a minority in a land dominated by Islam.
They long for freedom, and an end to persecution at the hands of Saddam
and others. Remember them when you hear the news reports, when you see
the battle maps, and when you pray.
As Operation Iraqi freedom continues, LET US PRAY for our leaders, our
forces, and for the liberation of Iraq.