Greetings again from the Nineveh Plains of Northern Iraq! After I got into the truck this morning getting ready to head back out to Qaraqosh, I turned the wipers on to clear the moisture from the windshield only to hear the very familiar, but not so welcome sound, of the wipers scraping against the frozen ice on the glass! As I drove towards the first Kurdish checkpoint, I looked out across the fields on my right and in the early morning light could see the sun glistening off the frost in between the patches of fog. I’m not sure why it came as a surprise to me as it has steadily been getting cooler each of the days during the past few weeks but in the midst of the busy times I had forgotten that it is almost winter.
The last time I wrote I mentioned that we had 26 completed homes. Since then we have really put the program into overdrive… taking on at least 50 new homes each week (one week we took on over 70) the goal is to have at least 220 homes completed by Christmas. It seems the program is holding up to the rigorous schedule and we are in the process of hiring more staff on to be able to handle even more numbers.
We were able to hire my very good friend from the video I sent a couple of letters ago as the Program Manager to take my place… it makes me very happy to see him in that position, I believe God has raised him up for such a time as this! We also just hired a Finance Officer (Rand) and an Engineer Assistant (Baraa), I have gotten to know Baraa over the last couple of weeks and really love his quiet and loving spirit. Rand will start with us tomorrow, she will spend the first few days in Erbil, training with the finance team there before heading up the finance office in Qaraqosh.
At the same time, we have been greatly expanding our office worksite to accommodate all the new positions, by adding more caravans onto raised concrete pads (in anticipation of the coming rains). It has been very rewarding being able to see it all coming together!
It would be very easy to get caught up in the “numbers” of all that is going on, however, the LORD has continually reminded me that it is not the structures that we are rebuilding that HE cares about, but the hearts and spirits that HE is rebuilding that really matter.
1 Samuel 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” NLT
I am so grateful for the time that God has allowed me to be used here, it definitely has not been easy whether it be physically, emotionally, spiritually or even financially. However, HE has proven Himself time and time again to myself and my family that it is HE alone that sustains us. My words cannot express the combination of the joy of looking forward to seeing my family again in less than a week and yet the sadness of leaving the people that I have grown so close to here as well.
As the frosty morning was a stark reminder of the coming winter, I think it was also a reminder of the changing seasons that we go through in our Spiritual Journey as well. Please keep us in your prayers as I finish up this final week here in Iraq with joy and sadness as well as looking forward to the reunion with my precious loved ones as we have been enduring for almost ½ a year apart. I’m not sure what the future has in store, so please also be praying that we would be able to endure the next bit of time financially until we see what God has for us next.
Thank you for your part in supporting us in prayer as we were on this journey with Him! Hope to see you soon!