It is now about 6:00 a.m. Tuesday in Erbil.
Quint and I arrived yesterday and I am now ensconced in my familiar hotel after a warm greeting from my buddies on the staff here. It was a delight riding in the taxi with Quint from the airport, vicariously recalling my own first glimpse of Iraq, and the startling ordinariness of it—really just people going about the business of being people, shops, restaurants, friends chit-chatting on street corners. It’s so good to be here!
Our friend Hanna came over last night and we debriefed on the goals of this visit and the best use of our time. He is extremely grateful for the gift we brought of a dash-cam for his car. Apparently it is now a cottage industry in Baghdad and elsewhere for con-artists to fake being hit by your car and then suing you in court (like I said, people going about the business of being people!) This dash-cam will save Hanna lots of time and trouble. It’s just so awesome to give things to people who need them.
Tomorrow we drive to Salimanniya to negotiate with the contractors for the caravans we will build for families there.
I have never been to Salimanniya. I have never met the people whom we go to befriend. Yet, I am giddy at the thought of being able to participate in creating more tolerable homes for people who have been living for more than a year in tents in the unforgiving climate of Northern Iraq.
What is the kingdom of God? I don’t know, but according to Jesus it’s kind of like a mustard seed that somebody planted in a field. Though it is itself tiny, when it grows it becomes a tree so birds come and make nests in its branches. Hmmmm… so the kingdom of God is like building places to live for those that need them…
This adventure in whatever new Kingdom God is building here, after the unthinkable destruction wrought by human beings, is just beginning. I am grateful to you, my friends, for being with me and Quint on this journey. I will be posting live video, blogging, and sending pictures as the sporadic Wifi here allows. Just know that my eyes are your eyes, and my ears are your ears.
This mission is a gift you have given me and an invitation into relationship with one of the most spiritually and culturally rich places on earth. And I just ate the best meal I’ve had since I was here last time! I’ll tell Jahmir, who runs the front desk, to keep a room open for you. Peace, love and hope!