At the edge of eastern Mosul city, I expected to see tanks rolling by, ambulances racing past with sirens blaring, and smoke rising from burning oil and buildings.
That all was there as our team—suited up bullet-proof vests and helmets—jumped out of our armored truck to deliver aid.
What surprised me were the swarms of men, women, and children who continued to live within the radius of a mortar strike and within earshot of constant machine gun fire. I was a part of a small team of Samaritan’s Purse distributors dispatched to deliver food, water, and hygiene materials to families who were in desperate need of aid.
We had been requested by the United Nations to help respond to approximately 5,000 families who were living in this combat zone. Accompanied by an Iraqi military security detail, and with U.S. Apache helicopters providing us air cover, we were able to get live-saving supplies to these families.
The people were desperate but elated. They told us no one had yet come to help them. One child informed us that he had not eaten for three days. Families poured out to receive aid—carrying white flags to identify themselves as civilians—and, in spite of the hardship and fear, they smiled.
These were families who had only known the brutality of an ISIS regime for the past two years. Finally they were free, and in spite of their hunger and desperation, they knew more help was on the way.
Please continue to pray for these families that we met. Pray that the crosses they saw on our vests and the compassion they saw on our faces will remind them that they are loved by a Father in heaven. Pray that they will come to know the greater freedom that He offers to them should they choose to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life.