Kurdistan Mission Report
I have just arrived back from Iraqi Kurdistan; this was the second trip within one month. Both trips were amazing trip with many opportunities to preach the Gospel.
There are so many physical needs and many more spiritual and also openness after these people groups who have been living for centuries and more than a millennium in their communities which have been shaken and displaced by the followers of the most famous Arabian of all time. The inventor of the religion called Islam which is spreading destruction as a plague of locusts and fear instead of love and peace, the opposite of the gospel.
There is fertile soil for the gospel, there are many aid agencies and organizations labouring including many Christian organizations but sadly very few of these Christian organizations are spreading the good news. Humanitarian aid without the gospel is only temporary aid; they need the eternal aid of the Gospel.
The first trip
At the airport in Tel Aviv, my iPhone was stolen. This was really strange. Because all the people around us were on the plane and it ended up appearing in Tel Aviv but even in this the Lord has a purpose. So I had to get another phone in Iraq and handed the seller a NT in Arabic and also met him on the second trip.
We flew through Turkey and met the other two members of our team in Istanbul and then flew through Ankara to Erbil. We ended up in the same hotel as our previous trip. We had already arranged part of our program before we arrived and the other half was a kind of skeleton plan and it all fell into place with help from above.
The first Day we picked up Bibles and literature and went to buy Heaters and blankets and mattresses and pillows and blankets. We got to hand out literature at the electric shop. The Blanket man we met last time and he was really open and I asked him if he is reading his NT in Kurdish, I have read a little, he invited us out to eat kebab that night. It’s important how you do business with the locals; a friend of ours has a really good Testimony with this man and he testified that this man is so honest and that he has no problem to give him goods without payment.
We bought a little better quality blankets, which in my opinion, it is a better testimony.
We travelled many times by taxi and had opportunities to evangelize the drivers and hand out literature. One driver who was a soldier in the Peshmerga, (Kurdish forces) did not charge us for the Taxi. One taxi driver said Muslims are terrorists and took the New testament from us gladly. We had a good taxi ministry and most of the time the taxi drivers take the New Testament in Kurdish, Sorani.
The next day we went to refugees from Syria, from the city of Kabani, I was told that we were going to a refugee camp and that we could not hand out NTs or literature, which was very hard for me. I told the two German boys, 20 and 22 to arm themselves with literature and also we had mega voice audio bibles containing Arabic Bible on them. So the Lord worked it out that we went to another place in the area and we were actually able to share the Gospel (with translation) and most importantly, hand out all our NTs and children’s books and players freely as we had opportunity and interest.
One man told me that he wants to leave Islam, he is a Kurd from Syria ( Rojava is the Kurdish name for the Kurdish area in Syria ) He was really open and took out literature . He told us his uncle was killed by the ISIS, actually beheaded, and they could not bury him. The ISIS told them it’s Muslim land and so even though they are that religion the ISIS don’t regard them as true Muslims. His wife is about to give birth and asked me to name the child and so I gave him the name Samuel. This man’s father said we want to leave Islam but Islam will not leave us.
We distributed heaters to this group of Syrian refugees.
The next day we went to visit some Christian refugees and handed out NTs and audio bibles to old people and chocolate to children. We walked around meeting people and handed out New Testaments. We went to visit the mother of the baby that had a heart problem, sadly Malak had died. All the bureaucracy meant she was not able to get the passport on time, and further medical care failure (taken off oxygen) made it only worse. As any mother would be, her mother was grief stricken and very sad. We tried to comfort her and it did not help that a close relative had also recently died. We in the West are so blessed with Medical care and doctors , so many people in the third world and especially the refugee situation in Iraq , do not have access to good medical care , we should be very thankful. In the West, Malak would have lived.
On the third day we got to distribute heaters and blankets to refugees from Kabani. I got to preach the Gospel, a small three minute message and many people took NTs and children’s books from us and some audio players.
The next day we were going to a place where Christian refugees live we made a mistake and ended up at a big building where 203 families (total around 600 people) lived, living 30-40 to a room. They have electricity for a few hours and the water is pumped but it’s really dirty water. We offered them a filter so they can have clean water. We gave out some NTs and we had 29 heaters. We decided to buy each family a heater. So we ordered them and came back after two days. We gathered the people and were able to share our hope in the Gospel and handed out heaters clothes and blankets plus full bibles and children’s bibles. These people were from the village of Qarakosh near the river Euphrates. There is still a bigger need for blankets for the winter.
The next day we went to hand out New Testaments and children’s books to Christian refugees in different places. We also purchased full bibles which people really want especially large print bibles. We were able to distribute among the Christian refugees who were glad to get the whole bible. We also distributed SD cards with the bible on it. At one of the places we visited we met a family from a previous visit, they invited us in and we got to speak to them about the scriptures and he helped us distribute the SD cards.
This man had earned much money working in Arab countries and was very comfortable but when they had to flee from the ISIS the bank manger fled to a Turkey and the head office in Bagdad said we will give you your money only with the signature of the local bank manager, so now he lives in poverty with little money struggling with what charity and resources he can muster. It very sobering to see people, especially old people who have worked all their lives and now have literally nothing. In a country with no welfare or medical security you literally are destitute and live from hand to mouth hoping you will not get sick or starve.
We had a distribution outside the local church building to refugees from Kabani, we got to preach the gospel to them and hand out literature and there was a great openness to receive the word of God from the refugees.
One time when we went to a restaurant that was really cheap ($3 each) and as we were looking at the menu two men came up, do you need help? So we were able to sit down and explain the gospel to these Muslim men and took NTs in Arabic. One was living in the US and had contacts with Christians and was in an online dialogue with a Pastor comparing the Quran and the Bible which are not compatible. They had just wanted to talk thinking we may need help but our conversation
helped them. Parting they took Bibles with them and wished us well.
So ended my first trip.
On the way home at the airport in Istanbul the lounge was full and so we sat next to a German American girl who was going to Asia to find herself. She said she was an atheist and but in the end she turned out to be more agnostic. She took the New Testament and said she would read it.
What was interesting was that this girl told us she went to a hill song church in NYC and loved the free 90 minute rock concert and the Pastor was cool with all his tattoos and not preaching but advising .
We had so many opportunities to hand out bibles and give the gospel, and there is such a need and such an openness. ISIS is evil but it is working out for the furtherance of the gospel. There are many aid agencies but very few are actually preaching the gospel.
The Second trip
I am writing this letter from Iraq, I returned for another ten days.
I took with me around 200 Audio players called Mega voice in my luggage and hand luggage which was fun passing through the Turkish customs and then security, I was praying all the way as customs can be a bit of hit or miss even if everything is in order. I got stopped by the security and because he could not speak English well he told me to go.
This has been an amazing trip. I had no helpers but the Lord sent me helpers, local people who have a heart to be servants and the last two days one brother each day from American team that we were cooperating with. I was determined to work with the local churches and encourage them in evangelism and reaching the lost.
We purchased many kerosene heaters and electric heaters, food, handed out many bibles and got to preach the gospel to several groups.
One group in particular is the Kakai people they are really open and I got to meet all the mayors of the villages, hand them mega voices and the whole bible and preach the gospel to them. We bought them kerosene heaters and were able to distribute bibles and lots of children’s books to them.
One refugee centre has around 150 families with only six showers so we were able to supply the funds need to build another shower block.
We also distributed to each family a chicken and eggs and handed out NTs and children’s books and got to preach the Gospel in a simple five minutes explanation. I tried to encourage them to read the scriptures for themselves as sadly most are just nominal Christians.
We went to an old abandoned school now used as a refugee centre and handed out literature, visited families prayed for some of them and also for the sick, and a few days later we held a special Christmas evangelistic service attended by around 80 people and sang songs and preached the gospel.
At another refugee centre after we had an evangelistic service and preached the Gospel and handed out bibles and children’s books and 350 frozen chickens , one to each family. I was asked to go to this family and pray for a 75 year old man who had many health problems.
This man was livening in Mosul with his wife under the ISIS occupation and had been terrorized by these peaceful loving people. They came daily to get what they could, money, gold and other goods , they realized they had to leave and so they left secretly on foot and travelled through rough terrain even crossing rivers for 18 kilometres , it was so difficult but his wife helped him , he walked and crawled and was dragged but he made it to the safety of the Kurdistan. We prayed for this man and encouraged the family to read the bible and turn to the Lord. The man is so frail and the family gives the glory to the Lord.
I plan to return in February and the middle of March and bring some more help to the refugees. Remember these refugees had houses and jobs and cars and many possessions and then came ISIS and they lost everything. It does change you when you see the situation and hear the many stories, it makes you realize that possessions are nothing but the Lord Jesus is everything.
If any would like to join us please let us know. People need to be serving with their local church and have a letter of recommendation from the church Leadership.
Thanks and be blessed,