Blessings Across the Generations Oct 2022 to Feb 2023
God has moved powerfully during this time, sometimes in very
unexpected ways. What follows are just a
few snapshots of some of the incredible events of this trip.
The trip began 20 October with a family gathering in Poughkeepsie New York. We celebrated the life of Eric's recently departed Dad, giving thanks for the eternal blessings of God across the Generations through Jesus Christ.
The time also gave Eric an opportunity to visit and learn from a discipleship immersion ministry across the river from Poughkeepsie. During this same time, Karla went to the largest medical missions conference in Louisville Kentucky. She developed relationships with others, learning some tropical medical skills that she would employ later in the trip to Kenya, and also visited a group of believers that collectively pool their resources to take care of each other.
The time in Erbil featured opportunities to teach the community about drugs after a teenager died from an overdose. There were also times of teaching Syrian refugees on first aid, along with providing standby medical support for a visit by Franklin Graham. We also had powerful, intense times counseling and praying with others that have been severally affected by events in Syria and Southern Iraq.
Holidays in Iraq
The Holidays gave us opportunities to host Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to people that have lost so much. We also were blessed with taking them to a powerful art display with narration that explained why Jesus came. As one Syrian refugee would say with tears in her eyes when seeing Jesus born in a manger: He (Jesus) knows what it is like.
Side Trip to Kenya
.Karla was in Kenya for almost three weeks. The intent was for Karla to spend the time fasting and praying in a prayer cave. It also would allow us to re-unite with a church that we last visited in early 2019. This fellowship loves God, seeks to follow His Ways, and cares for numerous widows and orphans. The time in the prayer cave lasted one day, as it turned out the cave was visited by many for all night prayer vigils that allowed no rest for Karla. Karla continued her time of fasting in Pastor Isaiah's house, and was able to go out daily with him bringing food to the widows and orphans, providing medical care, and sharing Biblical teachings with a group of pastors.
Family in Iraq
We were blessed with our daughter Elisabeth and her family visiting for one month. They shared in the prayer and counseling efforts, and their energy and enthusiasm brought a special sparkle to all that visited. They are looking to return this Summer to make Erbil their home base of operations.
The Free Burma Rangers once again generously allowed us to use one of their vehicles while we were there, opening opportunities to go to encourage people in Duhok and take a trip into the mountains, amidst being a blessing to so many as we used it all around Erbil. We also believe we are now ready for getting our own vehicle, as we learned how to take care of flat tires, replace a radiator, and repair vehicles after accidents.
And yes, God was even to use a car accident when the side of the vehicle we were driving was hit by a motorcycle. Fortunately, the rider had a helmet on, as the dents and damages to his motorcycle and the FBR vehicle were significant, and his life was spared with only the need for some sutures to the back of his neck. Even though we were not at fault, and technically not responsible for repairing any damages, we decided to help this Syrian driver by replacing his motorcycle with a new (used) bike. We also took care of repairs to the FBR vehicle. Through it all, this driver and his two close friends ("the three brothers") have become close friends of ours, sharing many deep conversations and having BBQ's on the balcony.
Our next return to Iraq will probably be a little over three months from now: we have a month in the Ukraine coming up in less than a month, plus times with Churches, families and a graduate school graduation ahead.