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Living compassion to Christians in the Middle East

Terry Law was part of meetings in Kurdistan to make the region a safe haven for Christians.
Terry Law was part of meetings in Kurdistan to make the region a safe haven for Christians.

Terry Law admits to being a “yes” man—for God. As chairman and founder of World Compassion Terry Law Ministries, an organization that takes the message of Jesus Christ to hostile nations, Law has chosen to live on the far side of incredible action.

When God called Law to minister to closed nations, he was ready. He had been a part of Living Sound International, a music ministry that formed at ORU and traveled to over 40 countries, and was passionate about meeting the immediate needs of people without access to basic care. His journeys started with trips to the Middle East and Bible-smuggling excursions across Russia. In these trips, his love for Middle Eastern nations grew.

In 2011, while working in Kurdistan, Iraq, distributing necessities to refugee children, Law noticed that his partner in the distribution, a man named Jamal, was not feeling well. After praying over him, Law decided to send Jamal to a doctor.

“[We] sent him to a doctor in Jordan, where we found out he had brain cancer, and they did surgery,” said Law.

Shortly after Law left Iraq, though, Jamal disappeared, only to be found in an Iraqi prison on false charges of espionage. Law did everything he could to free Jamal, including pleading with Oklahoma congressmen and sending a professional negotiator to Iraq on Jamal’s behalf, yet Jamal was not released.

Law was burdened by Jamal’s incarceration, and in January 2012, the Lord told him it was time to take tremendous action. Law boarded a plane to Iraq without a plan, but he knew he would not return to the United States without ensuring Jamal’s freedom.

Law visited with the American Consulate General in Kurdistan, who referred him to Karim Sinjari, the Minister of the Interior. Law managed to secure ten minutes of Sinjari’s time, but Sinjari echoed the same message as the consulate general.

“Minister Sinjari told me it was impossible to get Jamal out of prison, but I was firm with him,” Law said. “I told him that although I loved the Kurds, I couldn’t support Kurdish freedom when they were holding my friend in prison for no reason. I had to tell the truth.”

There was only one way that Jamal could be freed, Sinjari disclosed, and that was through a pardon by Kurdistan’s president, Masoud Barzani. Sinjari assured Law that, if Jamal were to write to Barzani requesting a pardon, Sinjari would guarantee that the president read Jamal’s letter. Forty-four days later, President Barzani pardoned Jamal.

After receiving the news, Law called Sinjari and asked if he could return to Kurdistan to thank him for his efforts. Sinjari accepted.
“We talked for three hours, and we left that meeting as friends,” Law said.

Law and Sinjari’s friendship has been nurtured throughout the past five years. Three months ago, Terry Law received a call from Sinjari, asking him to return to Kurdistan.

“He asked me to come to Kurdistan and bring some pastor friends with me,” Law said. “We [13 of us] flew to Kurdistan, where Sinjari informed us of our task: he wanted us to visit all the Christian leaders—Catholic, Orthodox, Chaldean, Evangelical—in Kurdistan and discuss the referendum. He [Sinjari] wanted to know what these leaders thought would make Kurdistan a safe haven for Christians.”

Over seven days, Law and his friends met with 12 major church leaders in Kurdistan, and they shaped a document that protects all Christians, regardless of ethnicity, who seek refuge in Kurdistan. They named the document Safe Haven, after the news-coined term for the country.

Law presented Safe Haven to Sinjari, who said that all of the rights stated in the document would be included in the new Kurdish constitution, and hopefully, more legislation that would allow refugees who have been forced to evacuate due to ISIS and other terrorist threats. Kurdistan has long been the only territory in the Middle East to protect religious minorities. If Safe Haven is indeed included in the Kurdish constitution, Kurdistan will be the only country in the Middle East to explicitly protect the rights of Christians and other religious subgroups against persecution.