Jun 262014
 

Iraq-with-Ur-site-and-cities-OL_webOne of my closest friends in ministry and a member of this online community is in Iraq at this moment ministering to those caught in the war there.

For obvious reasons, his identity and location must remain secret.

This is what he just wrote me;

 

Let me begin by saying that the reports that we see in the comfort of our homes do not do justice as to what the reality is.  

There was another attack on a remote village last night that drove over 5,000 IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons), to the area where we are ministering.

I asked a pastor how this situation compares with the war to overthrow Hussein and this was how he responded, “we knew where and when that war was to be fought.  In this situation, there is no warning and the attackers are evil”.

On the local news, they actually show on video people being thrown off of cliffs, people being shot in the head and others being beheaded.

Part of the problem is that to them, it’s an honor to die and therefore there is no fear in these killers.

While meeting with our contact who is a young pastor whom I have known for approximately 5 years, he shared how the families of one of the large towns which were attacked fled into this area and the Christian’s sought him out for shelter and protection.

There are currently approximately 50 people living in the basement of his church with nothing more than the clothes on their back and whatever they could pack in their vehicles.  They are afraid, they are homeless and they have no hope.

Pastor M, has an existing congregation of around 120 people plus the IDP’s that came to him for help.

Typically in these situations we want to think that we can fix this problem by giving them money to help with the needs.

Money will not correct the problem this time…

Once housing is secured, they will need furniture, clothing, jobs etc.

As far as the housing, the cost to rent has gone up over 25% in the last 24 hours.

The owners of the housing for rent are demanding a one year lease with huge deposits up front.

Gas for vehicles can be purchased at astronomical prices after waiting in line for up to 11 hours and everyone is limited to 30 liters per vehicle.

Cooking oil is rationed and people are only allowed to purchase 2 small containers at a time.

The cost of all food products are going through the roof and as you can imagine, the demand is greater than the supply.

We intended to come here and hold up the arms of a young pastor who we knew couldn’t say no to anyone with a need.

Our friend is tired and he is being stretched beyond anything he ever thought he would experience.

You see, he knows these people who he is helping.

He understands their words and he knows why they cry.

He knows the name of every child and he can’t help but smile with tears in his eyes as he tries to figure out how to feed his new family.

When we met with him this morning, he was handing out new shoes to children who’s parents probably couldn’t afford these shoes in the best of circumstances even without becoming hunted down like animals.

The women refugees made lunch for everyone today and insisted that we (3) get served first.

One by one they shook our hands and thanked us for coming.

The little ones played all around us and pretended not to be scared.

Their father’s and mothers tried to explain the toll this has taken on them without crying.

These people are broken and scared.

Our pastor friend is worried and tired.

He needs to go home and hug his wife and little girl but he’s a true shepherd of God’s people and struggles to leave his new family alone.

As of 6 pm our time, the bad guys were 30 minutes away and attacking another village with the vehicles and weapons that we left the local army while trying to free them from a wicked man.

Now there are many wicked men.

We wondered how many refugees will be in the basement waiting for food and shelter when we wake up.

There is a plethora of emotions that I am feeling and while trying to force myself to forget, the little faces that proudly own the new shoes broke my heart today.

What are these people guilty of?  What did these people do to deserve being treated worse than a dog?  They love Jesus.

I’m learning a lot and need your prayers.”

Prayer needs:

Wisdom and direction for Pastor M

Financial support to feed and provide housing

Peace from the terrorists who want to murder innocent people

I will continue to update you as time allows.  Thank you for your prayers and I ask that you pray as you are led regarding all of the challenges that these people will continue to face.

I cannot validate any of the political commentaries that we see in the news as this is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue.

These killers hate Christ and all that He stands for.  As far as they are concerned, they are doing exactly what is expected of them by their god.

They believe that they need to die for their god and we know that Our God died for us.”

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones”

 

  29 Responses to “Live From Iraq”

  1. “Financial support to feed and provide housing”

    How can one help?

  2. Jean,

    I just asked him the same thing…he will text me that info as soon as he’s able.

  3. Oh dear Lord Jesus, have mercy on these innocent souls. May your warrior angels surround them. Work miracles on their behalf and for your glory. Provide for their needs in inexplicable ways. Please, please Lord!

  4. Amen, CK.

    My friend has a huge heart and it’s broken for these people and this situation.

  5. I’m very secure in the comfort of my home and can’t imagine the terror these people are experiencing. May God fill them with peace and protect them from the evil that surrounds them. Thank you for sharing this Michael.

  6. erunner,

    Thank you…we’ll be getting updates as my buddy is able.

  7. When evil is restrained everyone benefits when restraint is cast off everyone be afraid.

  8. Praying.
    That is about all I can do on this situation. To emotionally draining.

  9. praying here too…amen to Capt, Kevin’s prayer.

  10. When I read stories like this, I get the most horrible thoughts, questions and feelings of despair.

    Where is God in this situation?

    Why does God allow this to happen?

    Many Americans like me want to help and want my government to help, but I don’t sense that the vast majority of the world’s people and governments care or are willing to lift a finger.

    People are kicking back over a cocktail all over the world right now while this is going on. Where’s the outrage?

    Will my prayer do any good?

    What is God trying to teach me in and through this?

    What does he want me to do?

    This just sucks.

    “Our father’s God to, Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing.
    Long may our land be bright
    With freedom’s holy light;
    Protect us by Thy might,
    Great God, our King!”

  11. Lord, have mercy.

  12. It raises tremendous questions…and it does suck.
    I know God is there…in my friend, in those he’s ministering to, and with those who are suffering.
    Prayer does good whether we see it or not.
    That’s about all I’ve got.

  13. Call or write your Congressman and say no to this.
    http://news.yahoo.com/obama-seeks-500-million-congress-help-moderate-syrian-193135415.html

    I guarantee this money will arm a lot of ISIS people in Iraq.

  14. Derek, please explain #13. Thanks.

  15. A lot of the money we sent to Syrian rebels ended up in ISIS pockets and is being used to create havoc in Iraq right now.
    When you give to one rebel group you give to them all.
    This is the fruit of the reckless foreign policy of the Arab spring.
    We don’t need to continue to fund this.

  16. Here is Rand Paul on the subject.
    http://thehill.com/policy/international/210168-us-has-been-arming-isis-in-syria-sen-paul-claims
    He just doesn’t go quite far enough and admit we armed the very thing that is killing these people right now.
    These groups are transnational and they share and share alike.

  17. You know what has greased the cogs and gears of the Arab spring?
    The blood of the saints.
    Everywhere we continue to pursue this policy Christians die.

  18. oh Lord

  19. Praying. My heart aches over this. Lord have mercy.

  20. Any word yet, Michael, on how we can tangibly help?

  21. To my shame I did not support the intervention in iraq, especially the second time we intervene, my fellow Christians reminded me just how much I hated Jesus when I thought that the fact we did not have an exit policy was not really viable. I dont hate Jesus, even though I am often reminded how much I do hate Him. The intervention was short sighted and did not have a viable exit strategy, it did not have a way to deal with the sectarian conflicts in the country between the two aspects of the Muslim faith and it did not protect the Christian minorities. That always bothered me, granted that makes me evil and a God hating vile piece of human filth. I get that, trust me I do get it.

    I think we need to move past the rhetorical apologetic and try to come up with some real solutions outside of magical thinking, killing anyone for any god is stupid on its face, it is stupid pathetic disgusting stupid idiotic, pathetic, ridiculous etc. Like I have said in the past if God wants to take some segment of the population out, let God do it “Himself”, He does not need our help. I sometimes ponder the thinking of the Christian religion when it was 1400 years old and how some aspects of the Muslim community thinks now. I will posit this, if the Christian religion had modern nuclear weapons during the 14-16 hundreds, Europe would be a radioactive wasteland that is more sure than gravity and when they pushed the button they would have had pious thoughts of Jesus on their minds.

    From the pragmatic evolution believing theistic evolution open theism heretics like myself, No one “wins” in any type of nuclear exchange, people just die, by the car / train load. There is no glory in such an exchange, that is stupid, childish and pathetic. It is. Why would anyone wish such horror on their fellow neighbors? Another reason I hold to a universalistic world view, as pathetic and stupid as this is, I actually think God can redeem all people. Offered for what very little it is worth.

  22. Our nation now needs to step in and deal with this conflict, these groups do not go away by throwing out olive branches. The war on terror needs to begin, I think. Yet, I think that just as happened in the Ukraine, our leaders are going to be content to let these people be overridden and conquered, even if it means genocide to Christians and Iraqi nationals, with numbers in the millions. Prayers are going up. I will share this on FB to get more praying…

  23. Let the French handle it.

  24. I just want the US to quit giving money, arms and equipment to the bad guys.
    BTW, this is an across the aisle issue. Both political parties are guilty of aiding these goons in Syria which is then used to invade Iraq.

  25. CK,

    I haven’t heard from him since yesterday…I’m hoping for an update soon…even if it’s just “I’m ok”.

  26. Everyone, in situations like these put your mind back to before the advent of cellphones and internet.
    Places in chaos, like Iraq, can lose basic services we take for granted periodically.
    Just pray and hope for the best, but don’t let it get to you to quickly.
    There was a day when we didn’t get updated daily or hourly. Keep that in mind.

  27. Got a brief text message from my friend…he took ill yesterday so we need to pray for his speedy recovery.
    He’s working on a way for people to be able to contribute tangibly…I’ll keep you posted.

  28. DK @ #25: The tricky part here is that there really are none who aren’t “bad” guys there in Iraq, as far as I can tell… You are damned if you do and damned if you do not support either the Sunni or Shiite groups also, it seems. Prayer is the most important thing we can do right now… This is a spiritual warfare primarily, one for the souls of the people there.