Thousands of people in Iraq amassed when the first Roman Catholic pope ever to visit the country arrived earlier this year, presenting local missionaries with an opportunity for mass distribution of Bibles – except when soldiers at a checkpoint confiscated them.
Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges in the overwhelmingly Muslim country long battered by Islamic extremists, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event, they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of Bibles.
The soldiers told the workers they would return the Bibles after the event, the ministry leader said. The team had prayed that they would be able to distribute at least 1,000 Bibles during the event.
“The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” the leader said.
On the way back to the ministry base, the workers stopped at the checkpoint to retrieve the Bibles but found they were gone, he said.
“When we asked the soldiers, they said, ‘It was written on them to be distributed free of charge, so we gave them to everyone who was stopped for inspection,’” the ministry leader said.
“It seems that the Lord ensured the distribution of His Word in His own way. God’s plans are not like our plans, and His ways are not like our ways, for He is wiser and greater.”
The workers distributed other Bibles to crowds at various cities and villages that the pope visited.
“We had a team of 10 people, and each person was able to talk to 10 families to deliver them Bibles and visit them,” the ministry leader said.
“We were able to reach 100 families in just two days. We visited these families after we presented Bibles to them and their children, and we invited them to accept Christ and His salvation. Many of them accepted Christ.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Praise God for the wonderful ways He is working in Iraq to transform hearts and lives.
- Pray that local missionaries will be able to work around pandemic restrictions.