I have just returned from a 17-day trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Dubai with several colleagues. We are exhausted but safe and very grateful for your faithful prayers. We had no security problems. We had no major health problems. To the contrary, we felt a tremendous sense of peace. By God’s grace, we had the remarkable privilege of interviewing scores of intriguing people for my forthcoming book, Inside The Revolution. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will share insights and observations from the trip.
Among the stories I want to tell you: our experiences at a three-day conference of 640 Iraqi pastors, worship leaders and other Christian leaders. This was the largest conference of Iraqi Christian leaders ever held and it was absolutely amazing to see the joy of these believers as they see Christ moving so powerfully in hteir country. And I have to tell you about the opportunity I had to interview a former Muslim man from Kirkuk who came to faith in Christ in 1985 after seeing six visions. This alone is a wonderful story, but it doesn’t stop with his conversion. In March of this year, this middle aged businessman was kidnapped at gunpoint by five terrorists from the Mahdi Army. How God set him free and raised him from the dead — after he was shot in the head at point blank range – is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard. He told it to me personally. We have his testimony on videotape. I saw where the bullet entered. I saw where the bullet exited. I am in awe of God’s love and power, and I can’t wait to tell you the full story.
But I’m not going to today. By the middle of next week, I need to finish up the final chapters of my book and turn them into Tyndale so we can get this book out by March 10th of next year. So I will have to ask you to be patient with me.
Allow me to begin today by simply posting some photos from our five-day trip to Kabul, Afghanistan. Personally, I have never been to such a destitute capital city, or one so devastated by repeated and seemingly never-ending wars. The poverty there is heart-wrenching. Diseases are rampant. Life expectancy for the average Afghan is only about 45 years old. One-in-three children die before the age of 5. Many children and their mothers die during delivery. The Taliban and al Qaeda are making a major push to reclaim the country. I believe the U.S. and coalition forces — in concert with the Afghan army and security forces — are doing an excellent job. But much more must be done to gain full control.
As you pray for the people of Israel during the Jewish holidays — and pray especially for the peace of Jerusalem in view of a possible war with Iran that could be imminent — please be praying also for Israel’s neighbors. Pray for the people of Iraq. Pray for the people of Afghanistan. Pray for peace. Pray for security. Pray for God to show His boundless love and amazing grace to people in great need. Thanks so much. I’ll write more soon.
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