On Earth as it is in Heaven: ISIS Mine Kills 3yr Old Girl and Wounds 6 from the Same Family
March 1, 2017
My heart is broken, a family we just befriended was torn apart by ISIS yesterday. We are providing medical and food support for displaced people as we move with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi militia on the west side of Mosul. The units we are with are sweeping through the hills and desert west of Mosul and on the way we have started to meet families.
Before this, we were finding villages empty of people except for ISIS fighters. ISIS has forced the people to leave their homes and go deeper into Mosul. The ISIS fighters in the villages have been attacking us daily with suicide bombers, VBEDs (“vehicle-borne explosive device”), machine-guns, mortars and armed drone attacks. Our medics, led by Eliya, our lead Karen medic from Burma, treat the casualties as well as they can. We have had many die in our arms but one of the worst days was yesterday.
ISIS is being pushed out of the countryside surrounding Mosul and they are fighting back viciously. Mortars, machine-gun fire, suicide bombers, attacks and counter-attacks filled the day with violence and death. We are in the middle, helping as we can. On this day, the Iraqi forces, supported by coalition air and artillery, slowly forced ISIS back, killing most of the ISIS soldiers who were holding the hills. It became quiet, and as we came over a ridge we saw a small farm down below. We went down to the farm and an ISIS fighter who had fled there blew himself up in a shed on the farm. As we carefully approached, a family emerged fearfully and the father greeted us in English. We told them that they had nothing to fear and that we came to help. I said I was an American and that we loved their people. I asked if I could pray to God for and with them and the father agreed. I prayed in Jesus’ name for good things and a new life for them. The children, who were afraid at first, began to smile shyly. We talked with them and made friends and gave them some food. It was a bright spot in our day and we all were happy. To me this felt like God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven and that we were blessed to be a part of it.
We then walked back up the hill and the family got onto their tractor and trailer and began to drive off. They only made it a few hundred yards before they hit a landmine ISIS had laid. There was a big explosion and screams as the family was thrown off the tractor. We raced down the mountain to help. We all went to work, praying and treating the wounded. As we treated the casualties, I noticed one of the Iraqi medics doing CPR on the youngest child, a girl about three years old. I went over to help but she died. I prayed and asked God to heal her. I thought, “My prayers must not be very effective and my faith is weak, but what else can I do?”
Our Land Cruiser ambulance drove down the hill to evacuate the wounded and we put the lifeless little girl in with her badly-wounded mother and the rest of the family. They were all crying. As we walked up the hill, I turned to Monkey, our team pastor, and said, “That is why ISIS must be stopped. That is why people need to fight them. We pray their hearts will change but if not they should die.“
That night as I went to sleep I asked God to show m e His truth on all this. The next day, I was up before dawn and prayed and read my Bible. I got the same message and meaning in every reading, “Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay.” I confessed to God that I wanted to exact vengeance and gave that up to Him. I felt suddenly free and light. I was still sad but I was free. Free to love, free to pray, free to fight if and when God directed, free to heal, free to keep going and free from the false duty of vengeance.
Today, as we walked up the hills and past the now empty farm below, I thought, “Please be with and heal that family and let them see a vision of their little girl in heaven. Give them comfort and hope. Thank you Lord for your patience with me, and thank you that I do not have to carry the weight of vengeance. You will do it. We only have to be your servants and do as you direct each day. I ask all this in Jesus’ name.”
As I type this I remembered I had prayed earlier for this family. It seems many times my prayers are not very effective. But what else can we do? Jesus said to keep asking and keep trusting God. We have a choice: give up or keep hoping, praying and trying. The things of this world are fatal but they are not final. We can be sad and live well. I believe we will see that little girl in heaven. Until then, in spite of those who will do evil, we can walk with God so that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Dear friends, thanks for being in this with us, here in Iraq and also in Burma, Syria, Kurdistan and Sudan.
God bless you, Dave, family and teams