Saturday, June 28, 2014
Iraq is making the news. Daily. I’m grateful that my connection with this turbulent nation brings this world-away into greater focus for many. It makes it more personal. Thank you for your continued interest in and prayer for the people locked within the geo-political borders we call “Iraq.” Will I still go? Yes. Orientation was earlier this week. My leaders reminded me that for more than a decade Servant Group International http://www.servantgroup.org/ has maintained an uninterrupted presence in Iraq. Remember the Gulf War? Remember Operation Iraqi Freedom? Remember Saddam and Osama, Obama, and the waning of American interest in our sustained support? We were there, we were there, we’re still there, and we’re going back. And it’s God’s gift to me to get to join the team this go ‘round. When I’m asked where I’m going to teach this fall I hesitate. (Is it safer to say ‘Iraq’ or ‘Kurdistan’?) Before I give my answer I must do a quick study of my audience knowing that, normally, the former elicits a dramatic response (“Uh, you know they need English teachers in Asia, right? Wouldn’t that be the smarter choice?!”); the latter, glazed-over eyes (“Where is Kurdistan?!”). When you think Iraq you think Mosul, Fallujah, Baghdad. You think ISIS’s brilliantly violent media campaign, Shia and Sunni blood baths, and al-Maliki’s fragile government. When you think these thoughts you have reason to question my sanity. But when you think Kurdistan what comes to mind? Like West Berlin of the Cold War, it is quite different from the Iraq you imagine. When you think about Kurdistan here’s what you should think: They love America. (The last thing any Kurd wants is a dead American in their backyard.) They operate relatively autonomously, independent from Baghdad and the chaos therein. They are, like ISIS, Sunni Muslim and as such are not as much a target for the spreading violence. Additionally, being Kurdish, in a hierarchy of sorts, is more important to them than getting involved in sectarian rifts: the Kurds have an army posted along their regional border with the capability of stopping ISIS. If tested, they will. When you think about Miss Mac’s departure in less than 40 days to teach history and literature to 60 + 9th through 11th grade Kurdish students, http://www.csmedes.org/ imagine with me different news headlines coming out of Iraq. Insha’Allah, I will be on the ground to report them.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
http://www.baysideonline.com/weekend-service/2014/04/bryce-jessup-if-you-only-had-one-week-to-live/ Preparing for Iraq: This is a multi-tiered goal, and the main reason I came back to Indiana. More to come.