Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
TITLE: Intercession in Iraq
By Tom Degerstrom
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Jake squinted in the mid afternoon sunlight as he paused at the open iron gates that led out of the compound of small brick huts. He was flanked on either side by Iraqi civilians who were patting him on the shoulder and babbling in rapid-fire Arabic, most of which he could not understand. He slipped his helmet on and adjusted his rifle slung across his chest as he stepped out into the street, Brad the army chaplain and a few other soldiers in tow behind him. Jake, a civilian International Police Officer on contract with the State Department to help build up the Iraqi police forces, had developed a relationship in the local village with some Iraqi Christians during his tour and had come out from his base along with the chaplain to lend some encouragement.
“May God be with you my friend,” Kareem, the elder of the group, said as he reached up and embraced Jake and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“And also with you and your family,” Jake answered in Arabic he had pain stakenly learned during his six months in country.
His primary role was to train, mentor and assist the National Police of Iraq to become a more efficient and able force to maintain security. In the course of his duties he was able to meet many Iraqi civilians and in time, he had come to know this small but determined group of believers in the midst of so much peril. Jake had come to admire and love these believers and began to share their needs with his stalwart home church and committed prayer team. In time, their ranks had grown and their knowledge and faith increased. This did not go unnoticed by the enemies in the land and threats were making some in the group unsettled. Still, they relied on God to protect and shield them.
As Jake said his final farewells, a small pickup sped up to them along the dirt road, sending up plumes of dust. The truck slowed and a jolt of fear shot through Jake when he saw the masked men emerge from the bed of the truck. Two held assault rifles and the other leveled a Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher at them. The others ducked for cover and Jake reached for his own rifle when they opened fire. Bullets snapped and popped all around him, impacting into the brick walls of the courtyard.
In slow motion Jake watched as the rocket sped towards him, the smoke contrail marking its progress. He could only close his eyes and prepare for the jarring explosion he was sure to feel. With a loud rushing sound the rocket clipped by his right ear and bounced harmlessly off of the wall and rolled to stop at his feet. Miraculously it had not detonated for if it had, he and many others would have been seriously wounded or killed.
Just as quickly as it had all begun the truck and the assailants were gone in a swirl of dust. Jake quickly did an assessment of the group and found that none of the Iraqis or any of the army personnel had been hit. Once the adrenaline rush of the attack had subsided, Jake and the others praised God with much zeal, shouting praises to the Lord Almighty at the top of their lungs, drawing the looks of many passing villagers.
A few hours later back at the base, Jake took a few moments to check his e-mail. He found an urgent message from his close friend Tim, who also headed up his personal prayer team. Tim wrote that he had been awakened in the early hours of the morning with an intense compulsion to pray for him. He quickly telephoned the other members of the group and they prayed well into the morning. Tim was wondering what had happened.
Jake smiled as he figured the eight hours difference between the time zones and realized that Tim had been summoned to pray at exactly the same time the attack came. Jake praised God for His protection and with much delight, began to type an e-mail back to his prayer team to tell them what had happened. In his own heart he eagerly awaited the next miracle he would be privileged to witness in that battle torn land.
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