Gonna keep things short & sweet this morning, but I wanted to share a pretty neat moment from our week. Believers who’d come face to face with the horrors of ISIS and lived to tell the story…
Bro. Gary Reed was appointed as a UPCI Missionary to the Middle East in 1979 with his wife Linda (who passed away this summer) and they spent much time between Jordan and the Gulf States. At some point, they came into contact with Bro. A.
They’d been out of touch for some time but after learning of Sis. Reed’s passing, Bro. A. reached out to express his condolences. Upon learning that they’d relocated to France, Bro. Reed put his friend in touch with Bro. Nowacki in Paris and since they’re much closer to us than to Paris, Bro. Nowacki asked if I could touch base.
Liz & I went for a visit this week.
From Iraq with Love
Bro. A. is Aramaic so his first language is “Aramean… the language of Jesus.” he told me with pride, over the phone, as we set up our visit (although I’d learn later that he speaks 5 other languages as well).
His home was in Iraq where he was a well learned student of the Word of God and a leader in his sphere of influence.
He had a library of some 7,000 books and had authored 15 of his own.
This was before ISIS came to town and gave him a choice:
Convert to Islam or be killed.
He took a third option… flee.
He and his wife walked for 25 hours, over rough terrain, to reach a city where they could catch a plane out of Iraq. The got out with only the clothes on their back.
ISIS bombed their town and destroyed their home.
When Bro. A. talks about the Lord and his goodness, his face lights up and his smile expresses great joy. It’s amazing really.
One of his six languages is Arabic and it was with great pride that he showed me his Arabic Bible, which he has read cover to cover 50 times.
It was the first time I’d seen an Arabic Bible and he had to correct me when I tried to open it. You see, unlike most western languages that are read from left to right, Arabic is read from right to left, so that what is the ‘front cover’ for us, is really the ‘back cover’ for them. I had to hold it differently.
It’s one thing to hear about ISIS’ impact 1/2 way around the world. It’s another when you meet traces of history face to face. Bro. A. and his wife have seen trouble the likes of which many of us likely never will. Yet with the Lord’s help and strength, they’ve not lost their joy.
We’re thankful that the family of God is great and small at the same time. We are united by faith though we come from vastly different backgrounds.
It makes me think of the old hymn:
Great is thy faithfulness
Oh God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.