3 major church groups join hands to rebuild thousands of homes destroyed by ISIS in Iraq

ReutersIraqi Christians take part in a procession to erect a new cross over the Mar Korkeis church, after the original cross was destroyed by ISIS militants, in the town of Bashiqa, near Mosul.

The hope among Christians in Iraq that God will restore their land ravaged by the Islamic State (ISIS) appears to be starting to bear fruit.

In an auspicious move, three major church groups are joining hands to rebuild more than 12,000 houses destroyed or damaged by ISIS militants on the Plains of Nineveh in Iraq, the Assyrian International News Agency reported.

The Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Chaldean Catholic Church have established the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee to plan and supervise the rebuilding of the houses as Christians continue to return to their homeland about three years after they were forced to flee to safety following the ISIS occupation.

The three church groups are being supported by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which will take care of research, advocacy and fundraising. The committee said the project is expected to cost at least $213 million.

Iraqi troops backed by a U.S.-led international coalition liberated several ISIS-occupied cities in Iraq last year, including the eastern part of Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city. They are now trying to liberate other parts of the city.

The ancient Iraqi city of Qaraqosh was among the cities that have been retaken from the Islamist extremist invaders. The city was the home of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world prior to the ISIS invasion.

The ISIS militants left Qaraqosh in ruins in November last year. But despite the city's sad state, the returning residents believe that with God's help, they will be able to rebuild their homes and their city.

Professor Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst at the Clarion Project, recently visited Qaraqosh and talked to the Christian returnees.

"The ones who I walked around Qaraqosh with were adamant that their faith is even stronger than it was before and vowed to reopen the burned church and fill it with an even bigger crowd than before," he was quoted by Breitbart News as saying. "To them, God will use this hell they've endured to perform a miracle," he added.

In a previous report, Anglican priest Canon Andrew White, known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," expressed belief that despite what the ISIS has done to the Christian community in Iraq, "God is alive and doing the greatest things ever."

"Resurrections, healing and angels are part of daily life. We in the Western world just do not know of the real majesty, glory and presence of Jesus," he wrote on his Facebook page last month.

White earlier painted a bleak picture of Christianity in Iraq during a Fox News interview, saying, the "time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left."

Lifestyle