Greetings from Baghdad. The tragedy and joy of this place continues. In the last days it seems greater than ever. The theme has very much been children. What joy we shared with our children as they sang to us “Jesus has made me the Happiest in the world”. O the joy of seeing these little children praising G-d.
It was just after church yesterday that we learned of yet another terrible tragedy in Tel Afar in the province of Niniveh. This time the suicide bombers attacked a primary school killing and seriously wounding over 130 Children. The killing and massacres continues non stop every day the violence is so terrible but when it is children the pain is so great. And again this morning there is no knowing how many have been killed – several major bombings have happened in areas where many Christians live. I am sorry that so much of the news I share is so terrible but this is the reality of life here. This is where G-d has called me to serve him and you as my friends are also part of this ministry.
Things remain terrible here they are so bad but very little mention on the media and scores of people are being killed each day. The only solution is the reconciliation work between all the different sects and groups. At the moment it is hajj so a lot of the senior Islamic leaders are away. We managed to meet with most of them before they left so everything is being set up for there return when we plan to have a meeting of the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq in a nearby country in the region. We also plan a major meeting in the region between Jews, Christians and Muslims this is a very important yet sensitive issue. Please pray that we manage to find the funds soon for these very important ventures which could truly help bring peace to this broken land. As always these ventures are very expensive but totally G-d inspired and he will help us find all we need. As usual our days a full with a mixture of meetings with diplomats, politicians and religious leaders.
Apart from work things there have also been other more interesting and personal things. On Saturday we had the wedding between Ungo my driver and Linda who used to serve us at Abu Afif Chocolate shop. They are two of my favorite people people – two months and twenty days after I asked them if they would like to marry each other they did and it was a truly wonderful day.
We continue to work in this broken but inspiring land and I will not leave it. But we seriously need your prayer that the Lord will provide for us as we have nothing. Even our security money and our own living expenses have gone on emergency needs for the people and we urgently need help.
Please pray for us.
Grace, Peace and Blessings,
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On Friday the RSO (Regional Security Officer) for the US Embassy in Baghdad came to visit St. George’s. This was a wonderful experience as both he and his colleague Dean are regular attendees of the US Embassy Chapel service on Saturday mornings. They were able to have a meeting where they asked him to join the Security Council at the US Embassy and then attend the youth service that occurs on Friday nights. This was a great opportunity for members of the US Embassy Chapel to see first hand the community that they pray for and support. It was a good opportunity for both St. George’s and the Embassy Chapel to come together as one body.
Going from the joy of Friday we come to a day like yesterday, filled with tragedy. Yesterday there were multiple car bomb attacks all over the country. So far news agencies are not sure how many people have been killed, but the low number is 35, with some saying as many as 90 are dead and around 100 wounded. These appeared to be coordinated attacks throughout the country. Please pray for everyone affected by this terrible violence. Despite what is happening, G-d is in control. We recognize that joy and sadness in quick succession often characterize Christian life, but G-d is our wellspring of Hope, and our brothers and sisters around the world are an integral part of our support team, so we ask everyone to pray for this situation.
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On Sunday we saw one of the worst days of violence in Iraq for many months with well over 100 killed throughout Iraq. The attacks happened from the North to the South with many in Baghdad.
Amongst these attacks I returned yesterday to my beloved Iraq. Please pray for me and my new Iraqi project officer Paul White as he comes to Iraq for his first time. Below is a recent report sent from a friend at the US Embassy in Baghdad. read on
It is always good to be back in Baghdad with the people I love but every time there seems to be a new type of tragedy. On my return this time I noticed that all the boys and young men had their haircut. Nobody had any gel in his or her hair and it was obvious it was not just a change of fashion. I asked why and what I heard was beyond belief.
I was told that the terrorists had warned people that they could no longer have spiky hair or tight clothes. What is worse a large number of people have now been killed in the last few days. Not by shooting them or blowing them up but by dropping large rocks or concrete blocks on their heads. I was shown countless pictures of dear young people who had this happen to them. I am used to seeing tragedy but these pictures were more than horrific. They are far too awful to show.
Tonight I meet with our young people and I have to be able to give them something of the hope of Christ in this disaster. Please pray that I will be able to. It is so difficult when people are being killed for just being normal and young.
Original report in Al Akhbar’s English edition. WARNING some scenes in the video contained in this article may be very upsetting.
Grace and Peace,