I am home. After 9 days out of the country, I returned to my wife and boys yesterday evening. It was a wonderful reunion.
For the past week, I have been in Amman, Jordan and Northern Iraq (or Kurdistan). I cannot give a ton of details, especially people's names, but I'll give you a few highlights.
God is doing an amazing work in Kurdistan (and for that matter, Iraq as a whole). I was blown away with how different things are from what the media feeds us. Don't believe what you see on the news. I have never met more loving people than the Kurds. Yes, there were times of nervousness and anxiousness inside me, but what I discovered was that most of those times were caused by me and all that I had come to believe. Also, in my lack of faith in the Sovereignty of God.
We had the opportunity to attend a church service while we were there. There were people who traveled from Baghdad, Mosul and other difficult places... AT NIGHT! The team was so encouraged by their love for God. We talked afterwards about how little it takes for American "Christians" to skip church. If it rains; if it snows; if I'm tired; if the yard needs work; and on and on... Americans will skip church. You know, cause God would never want us to get wet or cold or whatever just to go and worship Him. Those that traveled distances risked their lives to come to church. What will you risk?
I am so thankful for God letting me go to Iraq. Some thought (and probably still think) that I am crazy. I'm okay with that. I saw God. And I am more sure than ever that He is faithful; that He reigns over us; that nothing can happen to me or for me apart from His will; that He is calling people from every nation for His glory.
Another blessing: I got to lead worship on Saturday evening for the team that went as well as two other Americans serving there and around 12-15 Kurdish men. The men were not Believers, they were Muslims. My friend Jamal looked at me just before I started leading and said, "Where are we?" That about summed it up. Who would have thought that God would allow me to lead worship with more Muslims present than Believers... in Iraq?!? God reigns. He is good.
Please pray that these men as well as many others we encountered will come to know Christ. That God moves through the church that He is raising up in Iraq.
Oh... one more thing. I met a man there who is from the States. He is serving the people in Northern Iraq to win them to Christ. I fell in love with him in about 2 minutes... maybe 1 1/2. He gives his life so that they will know the truth about God and His Son. He works hard. He is 68 years old.
Forgive us, Lord. May I give my life for the Glory of Your Name! May I live for You, not for myself. Be glorified in me. Help me to reach the people you have placed me around. Help me to give and work tirelessly that others may know. Please awake your church in America to Your Glory that they would be mobilized to places like Iraq and Afghanistan and other difficult, unreached places.
I love you, Jesus. Thank you for sending me to Iraq. Let me continue to press on and hear your voice and follow.