Each morning in Iraq a group of us would get up and go for a prayer run across the country-side. We would run in packs and often pray over the country asking God to bring revival and healing to this land. It was a great way to bond as a team and link arms together.
On one morning a few of us decided to take a left off the beaten the path and run across the sandbox and pray. It's amazing how you immediately recognize the presence of God with you as you run. We saw sheep and some rugged muddy terrain and were reminded that this country has been the place where many battles have taken place for centuries. We all have run many miles in our lives in America but only God would have known that one of the reasons we did so was to prepare us to do a prayer run across Kurdistan.
One of our greatest desires was to go back to the tea shop we had visited on our first trip in September. This is the place where God gave us the opportunity to pray over the men all together. We were excited to find some of the same people we met the first time around, like the man above who graciously served us tea.
I have almost 20 emails and phone numbers of Kurds who have been displaced from this shop. We met doctors and teachers and engineers in this tea shop who are trying to find hope. We played dominoes and smiled and gave Iraqi hugs to them.
Just today I received a Facebook Message from the Doctor I met there... Only God can make that happen. Pray for Dr. Saaad..
We were able to meet with many of the families in the apartments and pray with them. In one of the apartments this little girl was all bundled up in her seat. Imagine the mom and dad as they carried this child across the sandbox as they fled Isis wondering what was next. Only God could answer their prayer by sending a community of believers 6500 miles away to help rescue this baby and answer their prayer.
Imagine if this was your baby and you began to beg God for help...
One day we were out shopping for Apartment Supplies and this man came buzzing by us. I love the hooded sweatshirt he is wearing. I was proud to be an American when I saw this. I am so grateful for all the men and women who served our country from the Military to bring freedom to so many in Iraq. I am sure many times our veterans wondered what good could come out of the war in Iraq.
Because of our Military we can now follow up with the Gospel of Jesus. Had they not served we could have never been on this mission. Only God could take such hardship for our Soldiers and turn it into something good...
God has equipped us all in unique ways to do his work. We were able to have Scott Devlin on our team to capture the story on video. He found himself in many precarious positions filming the work there. Scott has longed to take the story of how God is working in other countries back to America for a long time. Little did he know that God would give him the chance to do it in Iraq.
Only God can take something as atrocious as the devastation of Isis and build a church from it.
This picture is truly an Only God kind of moment. As you know we long to see many churches planted in the ashes of Isis. One of the days we were there we were able to sit in the office of the Minister of Religion of Iraq. On his wall were pictures of him with the Pope and Franklin Graham. We talked about the refugee implosion in Erbil and about our mission project with the apartments. He shared how the country of Iraq especially Erbil was overwhelmed with 1.5 million Refugees. At one point he was overcome with emotion as he spoke about the pain his people were facing.
He served us tea and he was very encouraged by the work we were doing and shared how he longed for the local church to step up and help out. At one point in the conversation I said to our guys to stop and consider where we were at and what God has just done to get us in this office.
As we neared the end our stay I had the privilege to pray over him and his country. He gave me his personal contact information to keep in touch with our work in Erbil. Only God could arrange a meeting with a group of 11 American Christians to sit in the office of the most influential religious leader in Iraq...
As we left the building we snapped off this photo and thanked God for his hand in this meeting... Only God...
This photo represents so much more than the naked eye reveals. These are many of the people that worship together in the church that we have linked arms with in Iraq. As I scan the picture I see family members that were once in tents along the road but now in Apartments where they are finding dignity, hope and a fresh start. I see refugees worshiping from pain of Isis with a deep love for Jesus. I see people who were once far from God now Christ-followers. I see Hope stamped everywhere... Only God can turn this tragedy of Isis into good, only God, only Our God, Amen!