On January 8, Iran launched several missiles at Iraq in retaliation for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander, earlier in the month. Several flew over the area where one of our offices in Iraq is located. All our staff and those in the Child Sponsorship Program are safe. While initially there were no reported fatalities or injuries among US groups or Iraqis, since our first edition of this month’s newsletter was released, US military spokespersons have said that as many as 50 US service members have since been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

The last several months have been progressively staggering to see what is taking place in both Iraq and Iran. In the Fall of 2019, banners and flags were raised over houses and mosques in Iraq about a coming conflict between the populace of Iraq and the various militias represented in the country. With great concern, my wife and I traveled our way through checkpoints and listened as several commanders made the statement that it was not safe to be there. The political climate in Iraq continues to be volatile and uncertain, greatly affecting the people.

What most do not know is that with the fluid situation ISIS created, it has given various factions an opportunity to move into places that were previously held in Christian cities and villages, to take homes that were abandoned or even sold to Shia militias or a militia supported by Iran military. In one city near Mosul, the populous that was once 100% Christian has been adversely transformed to 60% Shia Muslim or Iranian backed. This has led to a new level of persecution against the Christians as our friends are endeavoring to stay true to the Faith. Of course ISIS is Sunni Muslim and there is extreme animosity between the two sects of Islam. For over a thousand years blood has been shed between the two sects with extreme insistence that one or the other must be followed and death is their ultimate goal of their enemy, the opposing sect. But the common goal they have held is the eradication of Christians from Iraq.

The protests in Baghdad against a corruption in the government in Iraq is etched in my mind. The young people protesting in Baghdad who stood unarmed has probably one of the most courageous things I’ve seen. Young men and women asking for clean water a better economy better jobs and a better life standing against armed military. Iraq is the second largest oil producing country in the world with revenues of approximately $264 million in oil sales per day. This money has not benefited the Iraqi people. Many times, in recent protests, tear gas canisters have been aimed at a protestor’s head, killing those who were hit by them. I have a photo of a 15 year old boy who was shot through the heart, on his knees, at the last moments of his life looking at men who were supposedly the army of Iraq, who had just ended his life. In Basra, the water is so polluted that the water comes out grey with a white foam and you can actually light the fumes that emit from the water.

What you are seeing in the news with Iraqis demanding the US leave Iraq does not represent the heart of the Iraqi people. In fact there is only a marginal amount of Iraqis who want the US to leave.

In all of this, we have the missile strike and the tragedy of the Ukrainian airline going down on January 8. With the show of force that the US displayed to the Iranian government, a number of things to keep in mind that are not being revealed via the US mainstream media. When the missiles (17-22) were launched against targets in Iraq at various places that the US operates from, that night at least one missile flew over one of our two offices in Iraq. The good news is that there was no loss of life. One was reported to have a can of Coke in the payload. With the Ukrainian airliner being confirmed shot down by Iran, we are seeing behind the veil of a fear and now respect of the United States.

If there was ever a time to be available in reaching Iraq and Iran for Christ, I think the time is now. We are positioned correctly to make an impact for the Lord. With our outreach through the believers and churches through our child sponsorships we are seeing people won to Christ heart and soul. The Lord is using people like yourself to assist people in coming to know the Lord as their personal Savior. Time is of the essence in caring for these people and building relationships with them and sharing with them the only hope that we have. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon. In 2020, would you help us share with the people of Iraq the Hope found in Christ? Your financial gifts make it possible for us to continue to minister in Iraq.

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