Border Crossing. The Turkish government has put a curfew (as of Sunday night) on border crossings, but, thus far it seems that the border is clear.
Bishop Daoud in Iraq has arranged for a driver and a van with all the necessary paperwork to carry us into that country, and we’ll have some additional escort as well. More to follow about the border crossing on Monday night.
Church. Morning Prayer started at 5:30, Eucharist started at 6:00AM and lasted until 8AM, and then we witnessed a baptism at 10:30 that lasted another hour. That’s a lot a church in one day.
We visited some churches that may not survive the next 10 years, as well as some local Syriac Christian families that don’t see a great future for Christians in Iraq.
Here, given the late hour, are my notes of the day:
The Virgin Mary Monastery at Hah.
- Kurds attacked because there are lots of places to hide + easy to attack because it was so remoteThe village of Hah attacked by the Kurds over the past 30 years during the Turkish- Kurdish war
- Mayor is a Christian, surprisingly enough;
- 20 houses owned by Christian
- Few non-Christian
- Everyone fears of being attacked at any time; so most of the families have left, and all may have left in five years time.
- There were refugees living in Hah from Iraq, but they, as well, left out of fear
Church and Village of Beth Kustan.
- Wall built in 343
- There were 130 families here 40 years ago; now 20 families remain, with 100 Christians:
- Adam’s uncle: We’re being given the slow squeeze, just like the Palestinians;
- Uncle visiting from Germany; no sense that anyone wants to return; asked to describe the conditions that would make it desirable to return: no one wants to return; he’s lived in Germany for 30 years and considers himself as a German.
- Mayor: Hopes are for the village?: Why would his children stay? Way too many problems. Perhaps people would remain if there were an autonomous region for Christians
- Obama has been quite weak; we’ve given up on the USA and now look to Europe for answers
- You must tell the story; no one knows what is happening here
130 Christian families here 40 years ago; went to Sweden USA