‘You’ll be safest on the roof.’
That is what our team was told on the first night of our first high-risk mission in Mosul, right before the liberation from ISIS. The home we were staying at was being hunted out by ISIS on the ground and our friends knew that if Victor and our crew slept on the roof, we would be able to escape if they were targeted from the ground.
When we ask for your prayers and can’t give many real-time details, there is a reason. We need your prayers for protection and we feel your prayers and God’s presence most during these times of uncertainty. Protection from what, you might ask? Protection from the ISIS snipers running across the stacked roofs all throughout the city. Protection from the U.S. airstrikes and friendly fire of the Iraqi Forces across the street. Protection from the hovering drones that we couldn’t see, but heard all night long. Oh, and protection from the suicide bombers. The Iraqi Forces were tipped off a few days prior that a suicide bomber was strapping up a couple doors down and was ready to sacrifice his life for evil, in an attempt to hinder our allies from distributing needed food and water to those living in the neighborhood recently liberated from ISIS.
On that small roof, we set up our mats, placed our body armor in arm’s reach and we attempted to get some rest and let the lullaby of war drift us off to sleep. It was a mixture of malicious melodies:
‘Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ from the drones hovering in search for ISIS snipers. ‘Shwwwwwooooshhhhhh’ from the airstrike jets passing overhead. Chu, Chu, Chu, Chu, Chu from the nearby gun fights, sprinkled with the occasional ‘Poooshhhh!’ from the bombings around the city.
So we slept, some better than others. Victor had his shoes on, in case we needed a quick escape, and had one hand on Scout, the other hand on his A-K, and not a care in the world.
Being in a war-zone gives you a great deal of perspective on where you find comfort in vulnerable places. It is safe to say that in these all-too-familiar instances we find our comfort in Christ, the prayer warriors fighting for our safety back home in the U.S., and around the globe, our friends and allies in Iraq, and each other.
ATP International Project Manager