I am writing from beautiful (and hot) Erbil. It’s great to be back here and seeing friends, whom I have dearly missed. Internet access has been very touch and go, so please forgive the delay and I’m just hoping you get this. I go to Mar Elia today and will report fully on our friends there later.
I have been spending time with Vahe (you’ll remember him from the film, the talkative Armenian). I am sorry to report yet another difficult truth from the Middle East. Even as many in the West celebrate the ascendancy of clean and renewable energy sources, for economies such as Iraq, that largely rely on oil, this is going to be a difficult and painful transition.
Vahe can no longer make a living here in construction because most of the building and growth was around the oil producers, now in serious decline. Vahe is moving with his wife and family to Jordan next week, and then on to Australia because they simply can’t make a living here. Another faithful Christian family leaving a place they love and have called home.
So now just imagine what it’s like for the rest of the Christian (and other) IDPs in Erbil and throughout Iraq. There simply has to be other sorts of development programs to begin helping to build sustainable lives, livelihoods, economies, and communities in this country and region in the long-term. And this, of course, takes me right back to Bishop Michael and the inspiring conversation we had about the Anglican commitment to be of service and to accompany Iraqis into the new life that must be brought about with and for them. Our Iraqi family members simply need our love and direct assistance.
So, while I wish I had some lovely and comforting things to say about what I am finding here, the picture is just more complex than that. I can say that I am again uplifted and inspired by the spirit of our good friends, and only deepened in my resolve that we can make a real and positive difference here in Iraq through Stand With Iraqi Christians and the shared mission of our churches, Diocese, the wider Episcopal Church and the world-wide Anglican Communion. Jesus sends us to times and places just like this, so let’s get going and be sent, all to God’s glory and good pleasure! God bless this place and its people, and all of you. More later!
Grace and peace,