Back to a beleaguered Baghdad

Dear Friends,

I have arrived back in my beloved Baghdad. I have known this place in some difficult times but nothing has ever been as bad as now. The usual twenty minute journey from the airport took over 3 hours.

Yesterday’s bombings were so serious and all around the church there were homicide bombings. Scores of people were killed including two young male friends in their twenties. They were Dawood’s closest friends and ran a shop which provided our church with much it needs. Our church is in an area where many of the government ministries are, thus the reason we are under such attack in this period leading up to the general elections at the end of April.

As we worshiped tonight our usually small group at our prayer meeting was bigger than ever and our worship even more fervent. We are all in such a desperate situation and all we have is our Lord and each other. It is so special that we stay together with those G-d has sent us to love and be loved by.
back-to-baghdad-6-feb-2014

This picture is of Mariam, Rita, and Stephan together again, oh what joy it was to be together again. As Mariam said to me, “we are all your children and G-d’s children and we are just so happy to be together again praising G-d.”

Blessings,

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad
Andrew

Latest from Baghdad

Dear Friends,

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.

The children singing amidst the tragedies
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.

Ungo and LinaApart 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,

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad
Andrew


Hope & Tragedy

Hope & Tragedy  - post Iftar meeting 27 July 2013

In the past few days we have again seen the way that hope and tragedy go hand-in-hand in this country.  We were able to hold a large iftar followed by a reconciliation meeting on Saturday night with many of the key Sheikhs from both the Sunni and Shia communities, as well as our own Bishop Michael from Cyprus. Many of these leaders were new to these peace and reconciliation meetings and were eager to be involved in this process. The meeting was a success and saw the Sunni and Shia leaders praying together and then discussing together how they can help stop the violence. There was a very firm commitment to join in the reconciliation work, and to attend future meetings.

Hope & Tragedy  - post Iftar meeting 27 July 2013

From the hope of that meeting we then moved on to this morning when there were at least 10 car bombs set off in Baghdad alone. The total amount of casualties is as yet unknown, but the targets seem to be primarily Shia areas. This is the type of sectarianism that is trying to rip this country apart. This violence also follows a major prison break last week. Roughly 500 prisoners escaped from two different prisons, and some reports say 4 top al-Qaeda leaders escaped as well. Whether or not they were directly involved in planning the bombings today has yet to be proven, but it is consistent with the goals of al-Qaeda to attack Shia areas. Despite this danger and turmoil we persevere on with the work of reconciliation and peace. We are very hopefully that the coming months will see some major conferences, which will lead to tangible change here.

With every blessing,

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad
Andrew

Trauma in Iraq Continues

Dear Friends,

What does G-d say? The trauma in Iraq over the lastfew days has been immense. People have been killed bombs have gone of one stop and it would be normal for people to say why? Why does G-d allow such awful things? It is question that is often asked to us Whatas Christian’s. Why does God allow such awful things to happen if he is really in control? Bombs, illness, famine. These are indeed the real questions of life.

I remember the days when I was at studying theology in Cambridge. I was at a very good Evangelical College Ridley Hall. Studying theology is never easy, training for ministry it is always difficult but the hardest thing for me was dealing with the intensity and negativity of so many of my fellow students. The doubts and anger and theological questions. When we are faced with suffering we always have questions. They main one being “Why Lord why?” it is natural to ask questions, but the issue is how we respond. For us as Christians our response has to be different.

In the midst of our immense difficulties and problems we have to remember the most basic thing in our life, our relationship with G-d. It is a relationship based in LOVE it is only the love of G-d that can sustain us in such suffering. It is only knowing His love that will sustain us and enable us to cope with out major theological questions of theodicy, (Why does a good God allow evil). We may be faced with major theological questions but our response is also a major theological. Like the response to most issues of suffering there is no clear easy response. The fundamental issue is the we live with a partially inaugurated eschatology. In other words G-d’s glory and majesty have been revealed yet at the same time the present evil age continues. In other words Man and the world fell soon after creation. The world remained in a fallen state until Jesus comes in all his glory. When our Lord comes the world radically changes. Suddenly light is revealed in darkness. People have hope, light and a future. Jesus has come, life has changed.

Whilst change has come, the way of salvation has been revealed miracles happen and we live with supernatural God given power the present evil age continues. So we live in a post cross world but the present evil age continues. With its evil brokenness, terror trauma and evil continue. Yet there are so many Christians who think all brokenness and evil has gone. Indeed in 2 Corinthians 5 :17 we read that “the old has gone, the new has come” but that does not mean that all evil is over forever. It does not but we are told that “the suffering of this world is nothing to compare with the glory that is to come” Romans 8:28. So in scripture we are told of this ongoing battle between suffering and glory. Is the nature of the challenge we live with daily. It is the challenge of a partially inaugurated eschatology. I find it very difficult when Christian friends imply that if we are really living in Christ we have all the answers. We only need the real faith to have total healing and a total end of all tragedy.

My Lord is with us always despite the suffering. Our G-d suffers with us, as I will write about that soon when I look at the suffering of Christ.

With every blessing,

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad
Andrew

Baghdad Bombings

Dear Friends,

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19776555
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/30/us-iraq-securityviolence-idUSBRE88T03420120930
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/201293065456319209.html

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad

Andrew

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One of the worst days of violence in Iraq…

Dear Friends,

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

The terrible bomb blast – but they are all alive!

Dear Friends,

We are used to bad days, but today has been in a different league. Central to our work and ministry here are our children. One of the biggest services of the year is when some of our children have their First Communion. This service takes place at the end of August. The children prepare everyday with about two hours of teaching. They all come to church in our bus and are then taken home.

As they were on their way home today, they were caught up in a major bomb. The bus was not too badly damaged and it continued its journey. All of the children started singing the Lord’s Prayer. As they were in the midst of their prayer a huge bomb exploded. All the glass of the windows shattered, people fell to the floor injured and one of the teachers was in a very bad way. They were all taken to hospital, but were all discharged as none of them had life threatening illnesses. In a normal country there is no way that some of the teachers would have been discharged. One person was hardly breathing and in profound shock. She was brought to the church and I looked after her until she was more stable. Only then could I leave to visit all the children.

It was wonderful seeing all the children, despite their injuries they were all smiling. Their parents however were not, some were in floods of tears on learning what happened. The fact is that today was miraculous. When you see the state of the bus it is simply a major miracle that nobody died or was more seriously injured. The children knew quite clearly why, they just kept telling me that they were alright because they were praying and G-d was with them. And He was.

Many tears were shed and there are huge things still to do as well as people who still need treatment. Please pray for us as we try and recover from another trauma.

Grace, Peace and Blessings,
Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad

Andrew

Please consider making a donation today in support of our work here in Iraq and the region. And please subscribe to this blog to receive news and information that may not be posted onour facebook pages and share it among your social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc).

URGENT – suffer the little children

We really need your prayers, urgently.

We were just taking the children home from their first communion class when a bomb exploded, then another bomb. There have been nine bombs this morning.

They will not let anybody in the hospital so I am now back at the church. We are told nobody has died, just injuries.

Please be praying for the children and that we can we help them all and their families through this.

Bombings in Baghdad - 31 July 2012 - Picture: Al Hassan H Fahmi

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad

Andrew

Please consider making a donation today in support of our work here in Iraq and the region. And please subscribe to this blog to receive news and information that may not be posted onour facebook pages and share it among your social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc).

The worst terror in 3 years

Dear Friends,

I apologize for not having sent an email update recently, we have had multiple problems. First my Apple computer totally broke and stopped working. There are no Apple Stores in Iraq. They managed to repair it in part, but it no longer can be copied. This is a problem when you transfer emails between Facebook and my email list which is run by my UK Office staff. Many of them are at New Wine and so are not able to perform as many office tasks. Despite these problems this was nothing as regards what was to happen.

read on

A Morning of Death and Carnage

Bombs-kill-dozens-during-Iraq-pilgrimage-june-13-2012

At last I am back in Baghdad where I really feel I belong. This morning we have sadly seen total and utter carnage. Today is a major Shia festival and there have already been at least eight major bomb attacks in Baghdad and Babylon.

Over 100 people have already been killed and most of Iraq has been placed under curfew. The tragedies of today remind us that our work here is far from over. The media are hardly here nowadays, so there is very little news about Iraq since the media were targeted and many killed. Meanwhile next door in Syria the tragedy is beyond words.

Arriving back in the clinic I found many patients wishing for treatment and I’m sure the recent surge in attacks will only add to this. If you wish to support our work by donating to the clinic at St George’s, you can do so here.

Despite all the tragedy of today, the Lord is still here in His glory and we know that great things will still happen here.

 

 

With every blessing from Baghdad,

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad

Andrew

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