American Girl Responds to ISIS Attacks

Kurdistan, Northern Iraq
11 April, 2016

ISIS does evil things, yet it has attracted talented, brilliant, tough and motivated young people.
But evil is not the only power that attracts. Love attracts people and I want to share the story of Elle, a young American college girl who put her academic scholarship and membership on her track team on hold to go to Kurdistan and help women and children under attack by ISIS.

We, the Free Burma Rangers, are a multi- ethnic humanitarian relief organization working over 20 years in the conflict areas of Burma. We were invited last year to go help people under attack by ISIS in Kurdistan. Our team is composed of ethnic medics, pastors and videographers from Burma as well as American volunteers and my wife and three children. Our mission is to give help, hope and love to people under attack and to get the news out. You can see our reports and videos on our website at;

Before our fourth mission to Kurdistan, Elle, the 19 year old friend of our children, asked us if she could join us. Elle was in university at the time on an academic scholarship. She is a champion runner and brilliant student. Blonde and beautiful, sweet and confident, humble and outgoing, Elle is a outstanding role model for our children and others.

Why would a talented young woman in such a secure and potential-filled situation with a bright and limitless future choose to lay all that down and and step out into a dangerous, difficult and different environment?

Elle told me, “I saw what was happening to the Yizidi women and what ISIS was doing to families and I wanted to do something to help them.”

She discussed this with her parents, teachers and coaches and we discussed it with our family and team. We prayed and felt the same; the risks were real but that the people under attack needed help and Elle could help. She would help us in our humanitarian and medical outreach to families – The Good Life Club program – and also as an aspiring teacher, she would help homeschool/backpack school our children Sahale, Suu and Peter who go with us on relief missions.

The phrase, “Evil prevails when good men do nothing”, came to my mind and I thought, “Elle is a good woman who is doing something. And when people do as Elle did, evil can not prevail.”

Elle’s sacrifice of school, achievement and possibly her life, may seem foolish. But to Elle, our team and the people she helped, the love, experience, relationships and being part of God’s response to evil far outweighed any loss. For Elle, she was following Jesus to do what was needed in love. One day each of us will die, and the question will not be, ‘how did we die’, but ‘how did we live’?. Each of us have something we can do that is of love and helps to defeat evil in our own hearts, families, communities and in the world. I thank God that He sends people like Elle to give help, share love and stand with those in need. You can see a video she and our daughter Sahale made of their experiences on our website or on U-Tube:

Not Alone-White Monkey in Kurdistan- American Girls Speak Out” Link:

God bless you, Dave, family and the Free Burma Rangers