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Yazidi family in residence at Deir Aboun, Kurdistan, Iraq

Yazidi family in residence at Deir Aboun, Kurdistan, Iraq

The Seeds of Hope journey is completed, and the pilgrims are home.  Dale Ramerman and Deacon Eric Johnson are at home in Anacortes with their spouses, and Greg Rhodes is at home with his spouse.  Alice Kapka is back in Budapest, Hungary, where she teaches English and has been an eyewitness to the refugee crisis there.  And Fr. Dale Johnson has taken up residence at the Mor Augin Monastery high up on the rugged  slopes of the Cardu Range overlooking the Mesopotamian plain.  We saw his cell on his visit there, and met Joachim, the priest and monk who leads in that place and is supervising the restoration work.

From Fr. Dale I learn that there are now two villages of Christian inhabitants on either side of the Turkish-Iraqi border that are committed to the Seeds of Hope project.

For my part, I am writing up my notes for two purposes: a report which all of us will generate for our Bishop Rickel, and for blog posts which I will post here when ready.

It was wonderful for me to be back home and in worship yesterday among the people of St. Paul's, where God's Spirit is clearly at work releasing the spiritual gifts and talents of more and more people to share the hope of Jesus through telling the story and doing the work of Jesus.  Clearly, St. Paul's is a lively congregation, and God has blessed us with a heritage of faithfulness of past generations to renew in our own day.

Thank you all for your prayers for our safety and the completion of our journey.

Remember those who are not so fortunate as us.  When I consider the plight of millions of refugees and the evil of the violence and bigotry that forces them into exile, I'm frankly dumbfounded and lacking words to say.

So I leave you with words from Fr. Dale Johnson sent me after the trip:

"Many were hungry during the ministry of Jesus, but Jesus only fed a few.  Many were sick during the ministry of Jesus, but he only healed a few.  Many died during the life of Jesus, but he raised from the dead only a few.  You can do the same!  In his Name!"