02 March 2008

Our New Embed - Amazing "Coincidence?" - Next Phase Begins

We've transitioned to our new unit to begin the next phase of our travels. After another exhilarating rotary wing aircraft flight, John and I met our new Public Affairs Officer at the airport. Incredibly, we had met MSGT E once before, during our January 2007 embed (and what a meeting it was, too!)

While Martha Zoller, LTC Quinn, John and I were embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division in mid-January 2007, we met MSGT E at a heliport in Baghdad while our team waited for a flight to Anbar province.

LTC Quinn and MSGT E had an especially invigorating conversation, that concluded with LTC, MSGT E, and John sharing the loss of John's son, who was KIA on 6 Apr 2004. (However, our team never was able to garner a spot on a flight during that embed due to the tenuous security situation that existed in Iraq at that time.)

Imagine our amazement (and MSGT E's wry grin at recognizing us), when our Public Affairs Officer was non other than the NCO we had met at the heliport in Baghdad 14 months earlier.
This "coincidence" is especially amazing when you consider that MSGT E was not a PAO when we met him in January 2007, and out of 150,000+ U.S. troops in Iraq, that it was the one and only MSGT E who so graciously greeted us upon our arrival today!

There is an old saying that many of you may remember; "Coincidence is God's way of saying Hello!" It's hard for me to believe that this "chance" occurrence was just pure coincidence. I know that our families and many of our friends are praying for our safety, and the success completion of our "mission." Based upon the fact that every aspect of our trip has fallen right into place, and the MSGT E "coincidence", I truly believe that your prayers are being heard. Please continue to pray for us as a new chapter begins tomorrow.

On 1 March, I had the privilege of conducting an interview with an amazing man who is the pastor of one the last groups of Iraqi Christians in Baghdad. He continues to minister to his flock, in spite of numerous death threats, and the murders of many in his congregation. I plan on sharing his testimony, his love of Christ and for his flock with you tomorrow, as well as suggestions on what we as fellow Christians can do to insure the survival of a group being killed by the dozens on a daily basis in the newest wave of religious genocide.

In 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq, concentrated in Baghdad and the Nineveh Plains. Today, only an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 remain. The rest have either been murdered, have fled to other countries, or are "internally displaced persons" (IDP's). Some religious groups (more details tomorrow) continue to wage a relentless war of intimidation, extortion, torture, and extermination against the remaining indigenous Iraqi Christian population.

I will share the rest of the story with you tomorrow, as it is 3:40 a.m. here local time, and we have an early a.m. meeting with MSGT E in a few hours.


Anonymous said...

Greg and John,

It is such a blessing to be able to share your
story as your trip progresses.

Continued prayers have definitely been requested
which I know and feel have been answered.

Semper Fi,
Suzanne and Family

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating. I enjoy your writings, Greg. I can't tell you enough how proud I am of what you are doing. Good luck, brother.

your little bro,