Sharla doesn’t hesitate to describe the crushing difficulty of working in Iraq with Samaritan’s Purse at our Emergency Field Hospital near the embattled city of Mosul.
“It felt like I was in hell, based on what I was seeing,” said the 25-year-old Canadian nurse, whose full name is not being revealed for security reasons. “But we were able to bring Heaven to hell’s gate.”
During a three-week period, Sharla treated at least a dozen patients each shift at the portable hospital. Samaritan’s Purse flew it to the Mosul region at the request of the Iraqi government to help people escaping the fighting between ISIS and Iraqi government troops for control of the ancient city.
While she mostly worked with women and children, Sharla also treated government soldiers and suspected ISIS fighters.
“Initially, I was very angry (at ISIS) after seeing the injured women and children, but I saw a lot of fear in the eyes of the injured (ISIS) fighters and I realized they were in bondage,” she said. “So after some friendly reminders from Jesus that we all fall short, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
Sharla recalled one Muslim patient who experienced Christ in a dream and woke up shouting ‘Messiah! Messiah!’
“After that experience, his whole demeanor changed. He was glowing and smiling and encouraging the other patients,” she said joyfully.
Other experiences still leave Sharla struggling to deal with her emotions. She often treated patients who had lost limbs or had watched loved ones die. Sharla wrote a blog about one encounter:
“Last night, a mother of three children grieved the loss of her two-year old daughter who had passed away the morning prior. Many of us tried to comfort her, but without success; who can be comforted in such anguish?
“Today, as I went to give this mother one final hug accompanied with a warm cup of chai and some breakfast, she called the translator over and said in Arabic, ‘I have never seen so much love before. Maybe God sent me here just to feel and see this love.’
“I ended my shift with my arms wrapped around her and her arms around me, both of us weeping. I have never experienced the power of God’s love as I did that day.”
With the financial support of people like you, the Emergency Field Hospital will continue, until at least June, to provide physical and spiritual help to anyone who needs it. Please join us in reaching out to desperate people with the love of Christ.
Help families in the Middle East who have been displaced as a result of violent conflict and religious persecution receive the physical and spiritual aid they so desperately need to cope with the resulting poverty and trauma.