From the Front: The Fearless Will Fear

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On the afternoon of October 17th, 2016, a small team from FAI enjoyed tea with Kurdish forces on the front lines of the offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS control.

We woke up that morning to news that the Mosul operation was underway. A few hours later, we were on the road (en route to Bashiqa) with medical equipment and camera gear. You could hear the jets flying overhead and a few explosions in the distance. We were about 15 kilometers from Mosul’s city center. As we sat in the garden of the front lines compound, waiting for permission to leave our medic with the forces there, a faithful Kurdish civilian brought us a tray of tea and sugar.

Throughout the day, we would all check our phones for any updates on the progress of the Mosul operation. As we passed one checkpoint, we literally drove by one of the Rudaw reporters we had just seen on TV a few minutes before. As progress was made, reports would come in through the various news networks. Some with photos attached. There were two pictures in particular that stood out. The first was a veteran sniper walking back from a fight, 50 shells lighter, looking calm and sure like any other career professional. The other was a photo of a smiling soldier, snapped right as a portion of his sand bag bunker was blasted down beside him.

In our line of work, we meet some pretty tough people. We know a military general that’s been shot in combat more than once and he still shows up to fight. There is something about the Peshmerga (literally: "those who face death") woven into the culture and nature of this people. Civilians are no exception. Whether it is religious or nationalistic I don’t know, maybe a bit of both. Whatever the reason, these people are not afraid of death.

But they will be.

On our drive home, we pass through a deep gorge between cliffs with a number of caves carved into the faces. As we drove back from the front lines that day, through the mountain pass, I recalled a short passage scripture.

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals… and the powerful… hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb…”[1]

We just spent time with the most fearless, war-hardened military men in the world—and found them sipping tea a few kilometers from ISIS strongholds. These are the “great ones,” the “powerful” “generals” of the world. And it is astounding to think that these men, who don’t bat an eye at ISIS, may be the very ones trembling and cowering in caves, begging mountains to collapse on them to hide them from the face of the Lamb!

Jesus is more terrifying than ISIS.

While we serve our Peshmerga neighbors with medical care, we must also pray for them. We must also preach to them. Pray that the Lord would open their eyes to see His magnificent Son now, so they don’t have to meet Him later, when He wields a sword drawn from His mouth to decimate His enemies.[2] Preach to them now so they aren't cured of blasphemy upon beholding the Living God with their very eyes at the Day of the LORD.[3] We know that healing wounds won’t save a human soul. We know that saving a life won't save a man from Jesus' just retribution. At the end of the day, if these men don't fall in love with the Son of God, they will spend eternity in the same doomed place as the terrorists they are fighting against. They need faithful messengers of the good news.

Help us be that for them. Come be here with us. Partner with us. Pray with us.

“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you...”[4]


Jordan Scott lives in a Muslim-majority country with his wife and two children, where he serves as Director of Community Development and the Emmaus Intensive. He can be reached by email at


[1]  Revelation 6:15-16
[2]  See Revelation 19:15
[3]  See Daniel 7:13-14
[4]  2 Thessalonians 3:1