"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Letter From Iraq about Shepherds in the Middle East

Goth and His Harem ( above)
~A glimpse of shepherding in the Middle East, not much changed over the centuries.This is an excerpt from a letter I received in 2006 from our oldest son who was in Iraq, courtesy of the U.S.M.C. Knowing I love my sheep and am interested in sheep and shepherds he wrote......."one night I was looking through the thermals and about 1200 meters away there was a flock of about 1000 sheep down in a wadi and three huge hyenas were charging towards the flock and out of the middle of the flock came four dogs and attacked the hyenas. As soon as the hyenas took off about 20 dogs ( wild, feral ) came in to attack the sheep. The four guard dogs attacked them ( wild dogs ) but two of the wild dogs got a sheep . When the guard dogs got done with the pack of wild dogs they went to save the injured sheep and chased the last two wild dogs off. Meanwhile, the shepherd woke up and was standing there. It was pitch black out so he probably did not know what was going on, but he went to find the wounded sheep and all four dogs started to follow him. The shepherd pointed at the flock , it was too far for me to hear what he said, and if I could have heard him I wouldn't be able to understand him, but three of his dogs went back and posted and one followed him as he went out to look for his sheep. They never did find the sheep. I watched as the sheep limped off to the east, but when the shepherd got tired of looking he came back to his sheep and lay down in the middle of the flock and went to sleep.I guess it was warm in the middle of the 999 sheep, no...I don't know how many sheep there were, but when the shepherd lay down all four of his dogs posted. One to the north, one to the south, one to the east, and one to the west. Pretty neat to watch....." ~This shepherd, unlike The Shepherd, was unable to save the lost and injured sheep. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10: 11-15 ~Just a comment about risking life for the sheep. My son told me some horror stories about the wild dogs and hyenas in the Middle East...and they are a threat to people, beyond anything we here in the U.S. are familiar with. So really, the shepherd and his dogs were shepherding at the risk of harm to themselves. Alas, there is only one perfect Shepherd!
~"And I have other sheep which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall become one flock with one shepherd." John 10:16~

13 comments:

LindaSueBuhl said...

fascinating glimpse into shepherding - am eternally grateful we have a Shepherd who doesn't have to rely on dogs or aid of any kind. I think most people have lost a sense of awe about surviving in the hostile places.

Mrs. D said...

Your post really blessed my soul this morning. I was up at 4:am continuing my study on the gospel of John, so that passage hit very close to home. Your son's insight and description must be a blessing to you, as we joy in seeing our children show fruit. I have a son-in-law in the Marines (who is also close to the Lord) who had three deployments over there and I never knew about the four legged dangers. But we know God is very present among the Muslims, and I sometimes grieve to know what will happen to those Christians there when our protection is pulled out and the law of Islam is enforced. God is able, and He knows of His own. They need our prayers.
Thank you for these encouraging post.

English Cottage in Georgia said...

Thanks for the beautiful post...will be reflecting on it all day.

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Beautiful, and brought a sense of peace with it. Thank you.

Miss Linda said...

What a truly wonderful story. During my own difficulty during this time, it is wonderful to remember that I have a Great Shephed guarding and watching over me. Thank you so very, very much for sharing this wonderful story!

By the way, is that Leah standing next to the terrifying Goth the Destroyer? I think I recognize her funny smile. I love loooking at the faces of each of the sheep. They seem to have unique expressions. Are they all waiting patiently for soda cracker treats?

Jo said...

What an interesting post! I always love coming over to visit you. I am just catching up on my blog visiting, and I read your last few posts (Love, Li-li!)

You know, I really envy you your faith. You are truly, truly blessed!

Cheers,
Jo

KathyB. said...

LindaSue, give me coyotes any day instead of the wild dogs and hyenas the shepherds of the Middle East contend with.

Mrs.D,I often forget Jesus' command to pray for our enemies, and there is no group we as Americans consider our enemies as the people our sons, daughters, and country fight in the Middle East.Really though, the battle is not one of might and cunning, but of the heart. If those we consider our enemies come to know Jesus, there is no fight...only the joy of the knowledge of real peace and security.You are right, they need our prayers.

English Cottage in Georgia, thank-you. The passages about sheep and shepherds do speak to me ....

Mary, thank-you!

Miss Linda,how observant of you! Yes indeed, it is Leah and they are waiting for their soda cracker treats. I pray for your new job and also for your comfort and peace in the reminder that God knows what plans He has for you....

Jo, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

Karen said...

This was an awesome post. It gives me more insight into the psalms of David.
God has His way of revealing the truth of His Word through our everyday experiences. Isn't He wonderful?

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Kathy, thank you for this post. I always enjoy knowing how people, especially, shepherds, in other countries live an this is timely.
We, in this country, at So Very Blessed.

Shellmo said...

Wow - so glad you shared your son's story with us. Amazing. I could picture the scene in my head. And you are right about the one shepherd in our lives.

Jennifer said...

What an interesting letter! I bet that was really something to see for sure!

Farm Chick Paula said...

I've often thought about the same thing Kathy... a few weeks ago while we were out running errands a stray dog came through our yard and tried to dig under the sheep gate... thankfully Hubby's brother (who lives down the hill) heard the commotion and came to investigate... I told Hubby later that despite our best efforts, we are so limited in watching out for our little flock, but the Good Shepherd said "I will never leave thee or forsake thee.."
What a comfort!!
Thank you so much for sharing this!

Daisy said...

Very interesting letter, Kathy. The hyenas and wild dogs would have scared me to death. It can be a frightening world sometimes. We are so fortunate to have the comfort and protection of The True Shepherd, aren't we.