When hearing secular news reports it seems there is no hope in sight – only violence, destruction, and chaos; that Satan who comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10a) is having a field day in the Nineveh plains and city streets of Iraq. But there is a second part to that John 10:10 verse where Jesus proclaims, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” When the One who spoke the heavens into existence and with His breath formed the stars (Psalm 33:6) tells us He brings abundant life, there is no reason to doubt His Word. And perhaps hopelessness creeps in when the expectation is God will show Himself the mighty victor in BIG, loud, and obvious ways. Meanwhile He is moving and stirring in the lives of men, women, and children in a way where His love quietly encounters their need and powerfully transforms their life. This is where our story takes a different turn, away from despair and darkness and towards hope and light. Meet Hakim.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Hakim is an energetic Iraqi Christian who has a tremendous love for Jesus. Several years ago he helped lead a group of young adults to perform large assemblies for children throughout their countries. Currently, he serves in his local church and conducts leadership trainings for children’s workers in churches throughout Baghdad. Being part of the religious minority makes life very difficult. Due to the ongoing violence, all of Hakim’s family and the original team of children’s workers have left Iraq but Hakim has committed to stay to bring the light of Christ.

When a KIDStory Workshop was scheduled in Lebanon, Global Director of KIDStory, Gary Strudler, was prompted to invite Hakim whom he met 8 years prior. Through the generous support of KIDStory donors Hakim and a co-worker were able to attend the workshop. The high energy Hakim exhibited years ago was still present in the beginning of the workshop, but he seemed to become more calm and introspective as the workshop continued. It was evident that God was stirring something deep within Hakim’s soul. Prior to hearing about the KIDStory Workshop Hakim learned that a 12-year old girl who faithfully came to his club meetings had committed suicide. It was incredibly difficult for him. Why did he not know how troubled this girl was?  What else could he have done to prevent this? God was using this tragedy to bring conviction that the ministry needed to change. But to do what? He was at a loss. Then came the invite, seemingly out of the blue, to come to a KIDStory Workshop and partner with Kids Around the World.

Hakim discovered that KIDStory was the answer God was giving him. He was grasping the concept of creating StoryClubs, environments where kids encounter Jesus. He realized discipling children wasn’t going to happen in big, “splashy” assemblies but in small, intimate groups where children are known and loved. He is fired up to go back and begin this in his own church and then share with others.

There is a powerful move of God going across the Middle East. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” John 1:5. Jesus is the reason we never lose hope, His joy trumps chaos every time. Kid’s lives are being transformed. They are growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). Please keep the “Hakims” of the world in your prayers, as they fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12a).