To Iraq


The text came on an Ecclesiastical day – a day when I was despairing that there was nothing new under the sun. Especially nothing new in my immediate vicinity.

And then came the text: “How would you like to go to Iraq? Call me!”

It was from my husband. I called – immediately. The organization that he volunteers for was putting together a small team to go work with internally displaced people in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. The president hoped to take a doctor, but after two doctors said yes and then had to back out for personal reasons, he decided to ask me. Timing was critical as he was purchasing the tickets that night.

I took a look at my schedule, rearranged one thing, and breathed a deep sigh. I was going to Iraq. As many who read CAB know, my heart has been across the world with refugees and displaced people from Syria and Iraq for a long time. In November, I was able to go to Turkey and since that time I’ve longed to go again. In fact, my husband and I have prayed long and sought hard to work with refugees full time, so the trip is a gift from God. To make it even better, my husband will be joining me a day later so we will be able to ask questions, find out what needs are, and do what we can during the short time we are there.

It will be a quick trip and include working at a clinic and visiting camps for internally displaced people. Last June, ISIS captured the city of Mosul – the site of the ancient city of Nineveh, best know from the Biblical story of Jonah. Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrian Orthodox and more all lived and worshiped in this city. That changed when they were forced out of homes and communities, fleeing to nearby cities and towns. Erbil, as the largest city in the area, received many refugees. The churches in Erbil made room for thousands of displaced people, housing them wherever they could find room.

It’s a year later, but the crisis continues despite the world moving on. The figures are staggering in their magnitude. UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) estimates over 3.5 million internally displaced people. Added to that are Syrian refugees who have made their way into Iraq. I can’t get my head around the figures. Take a look here to see more: UNHCR – Iraq

So we are going and it feels like even less than five loaves and two fishes – but then, that’s all most of us have. It’s barely a band-aid. But my friend Rachel says this, and I’ve quoted it before but it’s worth repeating:

It is small. And you are just one person. But a mustard seed is small. That’s the way of the Kingdom. May we always delight in being part of small things.” 

For those who pray, I would ask for prayers for this trip, but more so – for the internally displaced people and refugees in the area. I go for a week – they live there all the time. Also, if you would like to give to the clinic or to the camps in Erbil, click here. You can designate the funds specifically for Iraq. The trip is paid for, every bit of money goes toward the clinic and camps. Your gift is tax-deductible. 

16 thoughts on “To Iraq

  1. Wow! What an opportunity! When are you going? Wish we could go along too! May blessings flow through you to those you serve.


  2. This post has given me goosebumps Marilyn and the heat here is working it’s way up to 108 degrees today so you can tell how excited I am for you to be going. What a wonderful opportunity. You and all those you will be helping will be prayed for. Take care.


  3. And another favorite quote of mine, perhaps paraphrased but attributed to Mother Teresa: We may not do great things, but we can do small things with great love. I know the great love that you and Cliff have for the displaced and refugees among us. Your great love may indeed move souls, through this blog and in Iraq and wherever you are. Blessings and prayers!


  4. The second little parable is the one about the yeast in the dough. It’s small too but IT TRANSFORMS what it comes in contact with!!.

    Go with God, Marilyn.


  5. You’ve got my prayers! I will mention you and your trip in the pastoral prayer at my church, too. May God protect and bless you, your husband and the rest of the team.


    1. Marilyn, I’ve been having difficulty getting through to people this week. I suspect my email is wonky. And sometimes it works, fine! Just in case, I’m letting you know.

      I’ll keep you and your husband and the rest of the team in my thoughts, for sure! @chaplaineliza


  6. “It is small. And you are just one person. But a mustard seed is small. That’s the way of the Kingdom. May we always delight in being part of small things.”

    I love this quote. I will be praying for you Marilyn. Please pray for us the next couple of weeks as we will be meeting with M’s in Europe the next couple of weeks seeking to encourage them.


  7. What a gift to get that call! I am a little envious, but not anywhere near the prepared person/nurse that you are. Thank you for being His hands.


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