Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baptists in Iraqi's Kurdistan Mark Historic Milestone for Christians

Just as the sun was rising in the west Sept. 29, a new day dawned in Iraqi Kurdistan as Governor Tamar Ramadhan gave Baptists two acres of land worth $2 million for the Grace Baptist Cultural Center--a multi-phase project including a medical clinic, school, athletic facility, church building and seminary in the town of Simele.

Standing in for Ramadhan, Gurgis Shlaymun, the deputy governor of Kurdistan's Regional Government in Dohuk, joined a team from Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, along with Iraqi, Jordanian and Brazilian Baptists and other evangelical Christians at an hour-long ceremony prior to cementing the top on an engraved, marble cornerstone marking the new property.

Shlaymun, an Assyrian Christian first elected to his post in the Muslim majority government in 2005, delivered remarks at a community center near the undeveloped property in the growing village of Simele. In the Duhok Province of Iraqi's Kurdistan, Simele is on the main road of an agricultural plain about 10 miles from the Turkish border.

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