As hundreds of thousands of Christians and religious minorities are living homeless in Iraq due to the rise of the Islamic State, a pastor from New York City says it is a “total embarrassment” that most American Christians are not willing to travel to the Kurdish region of Iraq to care for the persecuted.
The Rev. William Devlin, who pastors the Infinity Bible Church in South Bronx, has traveled to over 11 different countries where the persecution of Christians is rampant and in December he went to Kurdish Iraq for 11 days to provide humanitarian assistance to those displaced from their homes by ISIS.
Devlin, who’s also a registered nurse with a specialty in war trauma, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that he plans to go back to Iraq in July and hopes to recruit and even pay for other pastors to go with him.
“I always say that I am here to let you know that you are not forgotten, that the church in America has not forgotten you. But, I am one person,” Devlin said after Wednesday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on ISIS’ destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq.
“I am one pastor out of the South Bronx. But can you imagine, particularly these megachurches that have untold resources, if the pastors get out from behind their safe, bullet-proof pulpit and come with me and get others and then do something practical. Get dirt underneath your fingernails.”
Devlin asserted that Jesus specifically calls on Christians to travel to help their brothers in sisters in times of need.
“My mode of operation is going,” Devlin said. “I think it’s great that we can have congressional hearings, it is great that pastors can stand at pulpits and say look at what is happening. However, Jesus said to go. The first two letters in the word ‘God’ are ‘G-O’ and the first two letters in the word ‘Gospel’ are ‘G-O.’ So what are we waiting for?”
When asking other American and western Christians to join him on his journey to Iraq, Devlin said he was tired of hearing the typical excuse that people can’t afford to go. That is why Devlin says he’s willing to pay for pastors’ airfare to Iraq. However, Devlin says it will be the responsibility of the pastors and their churches to pay for their transportation home.
SOURCE: SAMUEL SMITH