Whilst in Iraq, we had the chance to meet with Barbara Jean who has been living and working there for several years, and is now running our FuFu Prayer Bear project.
She works in 2 villages where the residents are mainly Syrian refugees. When she began work there, the women had no jobs and were unable to find work to meet the desperate needs of their families. Barbara shared how at that time the villages carried a sense of misery and hopelessness.
We saw an opportunity to help, by having the women living in these villages make the FuFu Prayer Bears that we carry on our website and to all of our BTJ meetings. By providing a way for these women to work and an opportunity to provide for their families, the women experienced a newfound sense of purpose, productivity and hope.
The women are able to sit in their own living rooms, looking after their children, and earn a living as they crochet the panda bears. If you ever get a BTJ prayer bear for yourself, you will notice that each bear includes the name of the individual woman who handmade that very bear.
Barbara works closely with the camps, taking in food, developing relationships and building trust with the women.
She shared with us an incredible testimony of what God is doing there – in one of the villages, ALL the women who are working on the FuFu Payer Bears have received Christ! In fact, the project has resulted in entire families receiving salvation!
This testimony becomes even more special when you realise that all of these women and their families were Muslim, and have now received salvation. This conversion to Christianity brings a very real threat of persecution and the total ostracization from their family members who still follow Islam. In spite of these risks, the women and their families have chosen to follow Christ and we ask that you hold them in your prayers.
The FuFu Prayer Bears are not just an item that we produce to bring in donations to the ministry – with the FuFu Prayer Bears, everything comes full circle.