Ann Voskamp Shares Heart-Breaking Stories from Recent Trip to Iraq; Raises Half a Million Dollars in Three Days for Iraqi Women & Children Fleeing ISIS
Grand Rapids, Mich., May 22, 2015 — After hearing Monday’s breaking news of ISIS seizing the city of Ramadi, influential blogger and New York Times bestselling author Ann Voskamp wrote a blog post that inspired her readers to donate over $500,000 to support families fleeing from the militia group.
Just weeks after ISIS beheaded 21 Christians, Voskamp travelled to Iraq (March 2015), to give voice to the plight of thousands of fleeing families who have been displaced by the growing humanitarian crisis on the edge of this violence. In her most recent post, Voskamp shares the story of four Yezidi mothers she sat with in the shipping container in which they now sleep, having lost everything they once had when they fled ISIS. These women, among many, opened up to Voskamp, sharing heart wrenching stories, including the horror one mother shared as she was forced to decide which children to leave behind because the vehicle in which they were escaping ISIS couldn’t hold everyone — and another woman who watched as her husband and son were shot and killed by ISIS right in front of her.
“Listening to their stories shattered me — And I wondered why them, and why not my children and me?” says Voskamp. “And I’ve been absolutely lit with this passionate reality: We have been given our lives here, not at all because we deserve more, but so that we can get to serve more. The reason your hands are where they are in this world — is to give other people in this world a hand. I’m completely overwhelmed and grateful for the support of passionate readers and the larger committed community who have stood up together in solidarity to defy evil and crush hopelessness — who have decided in the face of this terror, to wage love — and have opened their hearts to help put an end to this suffering.”
Voskamp partnered with Preemptive Love Coalition, an American organization in Iraq committed to saving the lives of Iraqi children, to defy ISIS and specifically support children with education and help mothers start their own businesses. Preemptive Love Coalition aims to put 22,000 kids back in school this fall,increasing their chances of survival and success, in addition to decreasing the number of boys joining groups like ISIS and the number of girls subject to sex slavery. Mothers will be given a $1,000 business startup grant, allowing them to have healthcare and provide basic needs for their children with dignity and long-term security. Donations to support the cause can be made here.
“There’s never been a more important time to overcome evil by doing good,” says Jeremy Courtney, executive director of Preemptive Love Coalition. “This army of moms has enabled us to do what the UN and world governments could never do: they’ve enabled us to imagine a world where we all belong to each other! They’ve inspired us to believe that we exist, wherever we are, to love and even sacrifice for others, wherever they are. They know the world is sometimes dark and scary… but they love anyway.”
Ann Voskamp is wife of one good farmer, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids and author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Greatest Gift and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, which was on the list for a total of 60 weeks. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today and a partner with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children. Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web, has become a daily well for the weary and soul thirsty.
Zondervan is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, MI. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.