Dear Supporters,

Deb and I flew to Kurdistan on Thursday, February 29th, and arrived back home at 3 AM, Saturday morning, March 16th. It was quite a time of ministry and adventure.

The Hosts: We were invited to Sulaymaniyah by Julius and Chika Metuge. Julius is from the Cameron and Chica is from Peru. Together they serve with Neighbors to Nations, which provides both humanitarian assistance and gospel ministry. Probably a better way to explain this is to say that Neighbor to Nations ministers to both the physical and spiritual needs of the folks in Kurdistan. By doing so, they reveal they are ambassadors, come from God, who care for the whole person—This is what Jesus also did.

The Flights: We flew from Des Moines to Dallas to Qatar and then on to Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan. They were long and exhausting flights,
but Deb made the most of it at the Doha airport. She engaged two Iranian women, (a mother and daughter), who opened up about their harsh life.  They exchanged contact information, starting what we hope will be a life-giving relationship.

Two Classes: We taught two classes covering evangelism and church planting. One class was on the Bible Institute level and the other was more of an advanced level. We used translators for each class.  Two textbooks were assigned—my doctoral thesis and The Storyteller’s Bible Study, which we have used throughout our years in Boston. We also published twelve PowerPoint presentations developed by the ministry team in Boston, which covered the lessons from the Storyteller’s Bible Study. By means of financial help from many of you, we actually paid to have both texts translated into Kurdish. Although it was a steep learning curve to communicate into the Kurdish culture, we believe good things were accomplished. Our prayer is that our brothers and sisters in Kurdistan will assimilate the material, and as a result, friends, relatives, and acquaintances will come to Christ and be included in the church.


Food: We were entertained by exceedingly gracious hosts who served sumptuous meals, even if some cuisine was a bit out of our comfort zone. One signature dish that was set before us was the most challenging for Bill. Stewed sheep’s head! It was the missionary’s favorite, and was presented with love.


Military Men: Two Iranian brothers, who fought alongside the United States against ISIS, became friends through attending the first class.  One revealed several places where he had been shot. The other shared his horribly traumatic experiences, which cause him serious emotional and spiritual problems to this day. For some reason, I was the first one with whom he had ever shared these things. What an extraordinary privilege to minister to him, through the comfort provided by the Word of God—so unworthy. The wounded brother, a missionary, ministers to individuals from Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. This means the Lord allowed us to help equip individuals who minister extensively into the Islamic world.


The Mountain Path: Deb and I became close to one couple who are a key part of the ministry team in Sulaymaniyah. This relationship was very humbling. During their church service, I shared my testimony of hiking in the mountains to enjoy God’s creation. When we had dinner with this couple, the wife related how she fled to the mountains to escape the gassing of Saddam Hussein. My story felt shallow, somehow. The truth is, the Kurdish people have endured extreme pressure from waring factions, economic hardship, and spiritual deadness. It was a privilege to enter, however briefly, into their lives and ministry.


The Refugee Church: My brother, Bob, has been in Kurdistan three times and is planning a fourth visit this summer. He has been a key ingredient in the building of the church in Sulaymaniyah and particularly in the refugee center. While Deb and I were there, we had the opportunity to visit a church started in the refuge center—a place where thousands of refugees live out their lives in tents. Later, at a leadership meeting, the one leading the refugee church shared their concerns and distresses of the ministry. I was asked for my advice. My response was, “I have been in many such gatherings, and what I saw was wonderful! What God is doing through you is simply wonderful.” The Bible study leader broke into tears. Thank you, Father for allowing me this moment!

Opportunities to Share: One interesting facet of the Kurdish Bible Institute is that not-yet-believers also attend. In both the institute and advanced level classes, there were some who did not yet know the Lord. This added an interesting and helpful dimension to the teaching. God helped me to both challenge the not-yet-believers, while simultaneously instructing the believers in ministering the gospel to not-yet-believers. I do believe that some will come to the Savior, partially because of this time together. I also had an opportunity to talk at length with a young Kurdish man who works on the humanitarian side of Neighbors to Nations. He has studied Christianity extensively and understands that, in Christianity, Jesus is the Savior, the substitute for sin. It was an interesting, involved, and instructive conversation. I asked him if he had ever sinned. He replied, “No”. So I asked more pointedly, “Have you always treated your mother with respect?” He replied sincerely, “Yes”. It was clear that my new friend did not consider himself a sinner, a phenomenon I have rarely encountered. When talking to my other Kurdish friends about this, they shared with me that the way they help a Kurdish person understand that they are sinners is by explaining how they personally have sinned. This is one of the things I love about ministering cross-culturally. You get to learn more deeply about the image of God in people, and how to minister to them.


A Haunting Face: You may remember from my first trip to Kurdistan that I encountered a young boy whose face haunts me to this day. Well, it happened again. A precious young lady, a teen I believe, attended the second week of classes. She asked many important, substantive, and sometimes provocative questions about what it means to become a Christian. Eventually, she actually tried to help me sing Kurdish gospel songs—sadly, she failed in this endeavor. Somehow, I felt there was a Spiritual connection forming. One evening, between teaching sessions, when alone in the classroom, I looked up to see this young lady, ten feet away, staring intently at me—just the two of us. Our language barrier prevented communication—she just looked at me with what seemed like a wondering, inquisitive eye, and then walked away. Every believer in that class are first generation Christians. It is all new to them. Christianity is a mystery to most Kurds. They are all staring, wondering, with an inquisitive eye, “What does God have for us?” May we somehow be part of God’s answer to them.

The Kurdish Situation: The Kurds represent an ethnic group which live mostly in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. Kurdistan is a semi-autonomous region in Northern Iraq. The Kurds have a brutal history of being oppressed, persecuted, and slaughtered by the countries in which they reside. They have a saying, “The mountain are our only friends”, which reflects the reality of their history. Many times, even in recent times, they have needed to escape their modern cities to hide in the surrounding mountains. The Saddam Hussein regime and the Isis caliphate both reigned down terror upon the people of Kurdistan. The Christian church in Sulaymaniyah is comprised of seven churches. A recent Easter service representing the Christian community in Sulaymaniyah was attended by 400 people. Sulaymaniyah is a community of 750,000 people. Most of the believers are first generation Christians, (all those attending my classes were either first generation or not-yet-Christians). Kurdistan is a part of the Islamic world, but the Kurdish culture seems to tamper down Islamic extremism. It is said that in Kurdistan, the people are more Kurdish than they are Muslim. Even though this is true, one senses a deep insecurity within the hearts of the Kurds. They seem to wonder when things will get bad again. They live on a small financial margin. Most would prefer to move to the West.


An Evaluation: I believe the trip was worthwhile, although exceedingly exhausting—we are just now getting back to normal living. I think we connected with the people of Kurdistan in meaningful and edifying ways. I would grade my teaching as a C or maybe a C+, but perhaps not bad for first-time teaching into a very different culture. (Deb grades me higher 🙂 Seriously, though, because I learned so much and became personally acquainted with the people and ministry in Kurdistan, it would seem a shame not to build on this. We have been invited back in 2025. Still, I’m not sure if this is God’s will for me to return. I think I could help with the building of the body of Christ if I were to return, but there is also some cons. The flights were brutal, especially with a hip which will be replaced soon. Fifteen hours crammed like sardines between two people is not pleasant, to say the least, especially to an old claustrophobic wrestler like me. In addition, I wonder about some things. Is what I offer all that valuable? Because other teams are going, I need to know if there is something I uniquely offer that others won’t. Actually, there are a couple things, perhaps, that comes from my theological and practical background, that are important and unique to this ministry.

We love being fellow workers with you,

Bill and Deb

Donation Information

You can become fellow-workers with Bill and Deb in one of  three ways: by means of the U.S. postal service, PayPal, or Baptist Mid-Missions.

Mail: You can mail a check to Bill and Deb Edmondson at 944 South Highland Street, Williamsburg, Iowa 52361 Please make the check payable to InterGlo Ministries and in the memo line please write Bill and Deb.

PayPal: You can donate to us by means of PayPal.

Baptist Mid-Mission: You can give to us as BMM Emeritus missionaries on the BMM donation page. Just type in Bill and Deb Edmondson in the box provided.