Covenant Pastor Visits Ministries Serving Kurdish People

Post a Comment » Written on June 9th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MOUNT VERNON, WA (June 9, 2009) – The pastor of Bethany Covenant Church here says he was impressed with the ministry and economic development happening in northeastern Iraq, which is home to the Kurds, during his recent visit.

KidsKent Egging traveled to the region with a nonprofit ministry to visit and encourage some of the organization’s partners. He and four other people visited six sites. The accompanying photos show Egging (at left) visiting one business as well as two children he encountered along the way.

“Things have only gotten better for the Kurds with the involvement of Americans,” says Egging. He noted that construction, for example, is continuing at a good pace.

Egging says he saw only a small contingent of American military, and that was at the Turkish-Iraq border.

Although Egging says he generally felt safe, the name of the main organization, which is an outreach ministry to Muslims, is not being published.

One of the operations sells special Kurdish shoes to raise money to provide surgeries for children who have heart disease. Egging says the children of the region suffer a high rate of heart disease.

One of the other organizations provides a place for Muslim women to gather. “They can get together and literally let their hair down,” Egging says.

BusinessAlthough most of the people in the region are Muslims, Egging says, “I didn’t get the sense that Islam was the driving force of the people.” A fledgling Protestant church is developing, he adds, but “Its history can be measured in decades.”

Geopolitical issues are more prominent than religious issues, Egging says. The Kurds consider themselves part of Kurdistan, an area that no longer has a proper border, but includes parts of Turkey, northwestern Iran, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

“It’s very politically sensitive,” Egging says. When he mentioned a city “in Iraq,” the guide corrected him that it was in Kurdistan.

The area is biblically connected to the Hittites. Egging recalls being amazed as he stood next to a 3,500-year-old Hittite carving.

Egging says he was received “very, very well,” and noted that Americans are liked. While he was traveling, one man raised his hand in the air and jubilantly declared, “Barack Hussein Obama!” Egging says he isn’t sure what prompted the gesture. “He just did it.”

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