Greetings from Northern Iraq!
I never would have imagined that those words would be coming from me. However, now after having been here and getting to know the people and the work to be done, I can’t imagine not being here to participate in God’s great work to be carried out among His people of the Nineveh Plains!
When I first arrived, I had no idea what stage the project was at… I kind of thought it would be just getting things going on the ground and then start working on rebuilding. I had no idea that it was still in the proposal stages. So, not only have I been trying to get acquainted with the culture and the work to be done. But I have also been trying to lay the groundwork for the how the program will be operating and sending that off to International HQ for approval.
On Thursday evening I finally was able to get a 1st draft sent off… after much discussion due to the fact that there were many ideas on how to implement the program but no one could agree on one single idea. I fully expected to have a few rounds going back and forth on the details. However, just this evening we received word from IHQ that the proposal has been approved for a Pilot Project of 10 homes to start as soon as possible.
They would also like us to rename the operation to “Project Nehemiah” which I think is very appropriate… hopefully without the need for weapons in one hand! (Nehemiah 4:17)
Just before getting the approval to start I had received an email from the Security Program Manager stating that due to SAF (small arms fire) between two militia groups in that area, we would need to halt all operations in Qaraqosh until further notice. We immediately started praying, not realizing that at the same moment a bishop from the area got involved and brokered a meeting between the two groups. He chastised them for failure to put aside personal differences and their pride in light of the need to restore the Christian community to Qaraqosh, which requires assurance of security and stability.
It seems the situation is calm again and we can proceed with travel and programs. However, extra vigilance is called for this week, as well as to observe and report anything out of the ordinary at the checkpoints or in Qaraqosh.
I am very excited to hopefully get things rolling out there this week. There is still a bit of paperwork to be completed so please continue to pray that those things could be finalized quickly and without incidents.