US Pastors Share Firsthand Impressions of Iraq

By Pastor Mike Lundberg

Church on the Hill, Montrose, CO

I had the privilege of traveling to Iraq with John and Dee Cook from January 14-29, 2019. It was a rewarding, eye-opening and life-changing adventure. We flew in to Erbil and met some of IMI’s Iraq staff. Their warmth, consistency, support and faithfulness contributed to our successful trip.  We met several of the refugee families in Erbil and were deeply touched by their stories of courage and faith in the face of extreme opposition and heartbreak from losing homes, possessions, jobs and worst of all family members. Some of these were internally displaced Iraqis and others were refugees fleeing the war in Syria.  

As a result of their plight, my wife and I have begun sponsoring a young Syrian girl in IMI’s child refugee sponsorship program. Nationals helping IMI in that part of Iraq are making a huge difference as we assisted in the food distribution that was a blessing to the Iraqi families trying to rebuild their homes and community that had been destroyed by ISIS.

We also spent a few days in Baghdad visiting the churches IMI works with there. It was refreshing to hear that all seven of the evangelical churches work together.  Since Christians are such a small minority in that city of nearly 9 million, according to 2016 statistics, their unity was inspiring. I also appreciated their passion for their city, culture and especially for Muslim background believers that were attending their churches. They were learning to love their former enemies in practical ways.  

I was thrilled to see God working through faithful Iraqi nationals and IMI.  As one Iraqi pastor put it, “Our time is now!”  I believe it is.  God is going to do great things once again in the “Cradle of Civilization.”

By Pastor Jon Campbell

Emanuel Baptist Church, Kinston, NC

My experience in Iraq has and will continue to change me and my worldview for years to come.  Despite great evil, suffering, and oppression, God is building his church through many faithful and joyful believers.  Their faithfulness to the Lord and their joy in the Lord was overwhelming! 

On the other hand, seeing the suffering of the refugees first-hand was also overwhelming.  So many people who are in desperate need of the necessities of life.  I came away impressed with the passionate commitment of Indigenous Ministries and their whole staff to be personally involved in helping refugee families who have lost virtually everything! I saw the hope that the work of IM is building into people through the generosity of so many people through the grace of God.  

By Pastor Ken Ford

Alton Bible Church, Lowell, MI

Words fail me to effectively communicate the situation I observed recently in Iraq.  The great need, the deep pain, the abounding opportunity, the astounding work of God in the midst of it all.  People literally being sustained by the food distributed through IM child sponsorships and the Iraq Relief Project.  People holding on knowing someone far away cares enough to love and support them.  Numerous testimonies of those who, through the effective ministry of IM, have come to Christ during this time of crisis.  There is so much need I urge you to give more than you think you can.  I wish I could express to you the delight to my soul to worship together with those who are the fruit of these labors.   I have seen the need as well as the meaningful and effective ministry of IM—they are making a real difference with your partnership.  Thank you for being a part of this special ministry and please encourage others to join in this great work.  

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