Journal Notes From Iraq…

We were in Iraq for five weeks recently, spending much time with two of our teams in N. Iraq. The pressure due to COVID restrictions and the additional needs of refugees have been challenging for our teams, so it was good to spend time together in fellowship, encouragement, spending time in the Word and ministering to people in need together.

John preached while Dr. Nabeeh Abbassi, dear friend, leader in the Jordan Baptist Church Association translated.

A highlight for us was meeting with two of the children in our program who have been helped because of your generous gifts with much-needed medical care. One had surgery, another, an eye-cancer survivor received a new glass eye. When she heard that she would be able to receive her new eye, she quietly cried and said, “No one else would help me. Shukran (thank you).” That’s her on the right afterwards. The joy on her face is medicine to any heart, isn’t it? The Lord opened up the door for another 13 year old girl in Baghdad to receive help because of our cancelled flight! We returned back from the airport in Iraq to the news that this girl was in dire need. Because we were not mid-flight, we were able to approve the $1000 needed for a surgery to save her life that day. Today she’s healing and doing much better. God is so good!

The refugee camp we’ve written about that is closing has caused upheaval in many lives, and it’s heartbreaking to see this happening, but it’s part of life there.

Above left, a pomegranate flower stands out in a field on the Iranian border. Above center, children play after the Bible Discipleship class one afternoon in April. Above right, one of the girls shows her drawing of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego (which happened in Iraq!) in the fiery furnace…it was the first time most of these kids have heard this story of God’s strong hand of protection. They were definitely impressed with what God did!

Above left, the women of the church after a recent lockdowns had just been lifted. Dee shared from Proverbs and our right responses in relationships. Above right, Nada, who is the wife of one of our team leads. They and their four children live outside of Mosul on the Nineveh Plain. She’s an amazing, resilient woman. A former refugee, she’s seen ISIS firsthand, witnessed brutality no one ever would want to see, and yet continues to raise her children with her husband as they have re-settled back in their home ISIS ram sacked. She is the face of many women in Iraq; beaten down but not kept down. She can cook a mean dolma meal and is ready with Turkish coffee at any time for guests!