First and foremost I want to assure my readers and family that pastor Jim and I are in no immediate or eminent danger. We are however in a real war zone and the fighting isn’t far away. ISIS continues its attacks against Kurdistan’s borders and the Kurdish military positions. The Kurds have successfully beaten them back inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy with few losses to our forces. My purpose is to give those of you who follow us and take interest in our mission over here a quick synopsis of the situation as things now stand upon our arrival and the impact of this regional conflict on our people here in Kurdistan.
I’ve already shared the difficulties we had getting here because of canceled flights into Erbil, Kurdistan’s only airport. Since we’ve arrived we’ve found out that every time the Russians fly their air strikes against ISIS ground forces our airport is closed for three days disrupting the incoming and outgoing air service that remains. When we arrived the Turkish border was closed and had been for about a week. This creates a hardship for the people here as most food and commercial necessities come in through Turkey. For example, there’s a shortage of eggs and other foodstuffs. Pastor Layth’s order for chairs for the church has been delayed for over a month.
Though the people here are resilient and courageous there’s an obvious undercurrent of anxiety and fear concerning the future. This is much more apparent now that when our American forces were on the ground here. When they were in the south the north of Iraq was literally booming with growth and prosperity. Now, as the locals say, “There are no jobs and there is no money.”
Despite these things, I sense and see GOD’S purpose in all this. There’s a great mass reevaluation taking place over here as the status quo of centuries of tradition and belief are disturbed and challenged by the ugly realities now manifesting. There’s an openness to the message and hope of Jesus Christ we’ve not seen before. Over the next couple of days I’m going to share a couple of stories that will help you understand this reevaluation now taking place. Standby.
I’m Jack, in Iraq and by the grace of GOD, I’m back.