Contend Earnestly: Missions in Iraq

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Missions in Iraq

I wanted to give an update from one of my missionary friends that has gone to Iraq numerous times to share the gospel and also to equip pastors there for the sake of Christ. He has told me of the prayer meetings with guards at both the front and back doors. Praying while guns are under the table and chairs "just in case." Honestly, the stories he has would be quite funny and entertaining if they weren't true. But the fact is, they are true and they are very serious and the lives at stake in Iraq are very real. I have asked him if I could put up his latest update so that my readers would see what is happening and also so that you could be praying for him. He said that would be fine, but I cannot put in any names or dates so that his mission will not be compromised. This sounds like him being overly cautious, but to be honest this is not so, I have heard the stories and he has told me some other facts in regards to his mission and we just have to be very careful with how much can be said over the internet.

I hope this update is helpful and also encouraging to see what is happening in some of the most dangerous areas of our world. I will be taking his name out of update and replace it with "JD" for John Doe. I hope this is a helpful reminder of God's work:

The time ministering in IRAQ was a great reminder of our AWESOME GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. God's work is advancing on many fronts. God's hand is not limited and people are being saved, growing in their faith and establishing churches. Yes, the enemy is at work, as well, but this is to be expected. JD travelled there in late January with another teacher from our former mission. It was a positive and productive experience. Here are some highlights we are able to share:

We spent time doing intensive teaching and training with 9 church leaders and workers. They completed the course and took the exam.

Most of those in the class have come to faith in Christ the last 3 years!

We met with numerous NGO leaders learning how their ministries are going and how we can encourage them.

We had meetings with various pastors to hear of their ministries and pray with them. This was an encouraging time.

JD spoke in a church in Dohuk area. It has grown from about 14 when he last attended to around 28 to 30 that night. It was encouraging to hear the testimonies of two people. One shared how he had come to faith in Christ in the last two years. He is now living in Aleppo, Syria. Another shared how he had been able to share his faith with someone from work.

We saw numerous students from past classes taught and were encouraged to see they are involved in full time service in the local churches.

We heard reports that many are coming to faith in Christ. Even in Iran many are accepting Christ, coming across the border to be baptized by some who have been trained by the mission and returning to start house churches.

We travelled across the country and met a government official to encourage greater religious freedom in the country.

JD was to go to Kirkuk but was unable to follow the plan due to security concerns. We are hoping to go there on the next trip.

The region is very stable at the moment. Pray this will continue as new policies are taken by the US government. There are many security forces out but no significant problems in the area where we work.

JD has been asked to go back in... (can't put date, but it is in the near future) Possibly Jane Doe, his wife, will go with him. We have been told it would be very helpful to the women if she could come as well. Pray with us about this possibility.

We praise God for the financial provision for this last trip. One church took this on as their project. Pray for the needed funds for the future. We have made a 3 year commitment to train a group if God should provide and the door stays open. The goal is that they have consistent teachers who get to know them, mentor them and help the churches in that region. We are able to do this from (their home mission, again cannot give details on where this is).

JD was able to spend considerable time with the Pastor who had been put in prison last year. Thank you for praying for him and his wife. They are both doing better and seeing God's hand in their situation. Their church is going well. He was able to be a good witness while in prison. It is quite a story of God's power, grace and help to them.

If you would like to send money to this ministry please contact me privately and I will put you in contact with how to support them. Please be praying for this ministry and this family. They have been invited to live in Iraq, but feel that the timing isn't right for the time being. So, be praying also for their future with this decision. They are such an encouragement to me and my family and their love of the glory of Christ to be shared to all nations at all times.


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