I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, or maybe it’s really right. I’m still trying to figure it out. I keep telling my wife, Sharon, that after some of these wild trips, “never again…” and then, the next opportunity comes up and I go again. I think that like Paul, I’m compelled to go by God’s love. I’m not trying to sound like a martyr here, my friend J. will tell you that I whine with the best of them. Bad roads, terrible air, questionable food and the bathrooms…we won’t even go there! But at the end of every three to four hour hot, non-air conditioned journeys , I find my reason for continuing to “go.” Meeting with loving people with hearts of gold who risk personal safety, finances, divided families and many other hardships in order to follow God. It’s impressive and very humbling.
We just got back from a town on the border of Iran. I’d love to show you some of the photos of smiling, worshipping faces but for safety reasons, I can’t. I will include a few photo highlights of our journey however.
We also handed out quite a few wheelchairs to disabled people in the area. They were very appreciative as we prayed for them and shared about what the Lord could do for them.
Yesterday, we also had quite an adventure visiting the border of Iraq and Syria and a Syrian refugee camp in Duhok. More than 82,000 refugees are there now and more than 1000 new refugees join them each day. It’s incredible how they live in this huge tent city with limited resources, sewage running down the dirt streets, lines for diapers, mattresses, water, food, you name it.
We met a father and his two kids (see below) and they had been living on the streets for 10 days as there were no tents for them yet. I also met one little girl and asked her how she and her family were doing. She smiled and said; “At least we’re alive and not being bombed every day!”
We saw little boys lining the streets selling cigarettes trying to make a little money. Interestingly enough, as J. and I wondered through the camp unaccompanied, (I think we were supposed to stay near the director’s office) we saw no police and no violence. It was a pretty nice day, around 75 degrees, but the camp director told us that when the summer months come, it will be very difficult with no air conditioning or fans and living in 100+ degree temperatures! (Remember my whining about driving in a car with no AC for three hours? Seems a bit trivial now, doesn’t it?!)
Tomorrow we meet with some church leaders. The church here in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) is facing some very difficult leadership issues, not unlike those that we face in the west with struggles over “power,” finances, issues of morality, etc. They really need our prayers!
We head to Jordon tomorrow afternoon to meet with some more great folks and to help in some small ways and to encourage the saints that are there. Thanks for your continued prayers. RM
Here's a few bonus shots!