IRAQ UPDATE: April 20, 2003


April 21, 2003
IRAQ UPDATE: April 20, 2003

Lisa Martens reported to Doug Pritchard about their worship experiences of
this weekend. The Good Friday service at St Raphael's Catholic Church was
packed with at least 100 worshippers. Iraqis said,"We attend on Good Friday
because we know what it is to suffer." By contrast the Easter Sunday service
had only 10 Iraqis plus 10 U.S. Marines plus hordes of media. The team found
it hard to worship in this environment. In the course of his homily, Fr.
Vincent asked, "How can I be a Christian when Christians are bombing us?"

Later in the day, the team held a prayer vigil outside the Oil Ministry. It
is one of the few
government buildings which U.S. bombers left intact. A large contingent of
US troops have surrounded the building to prevent looting. The team said
Easter prayers and read the
Litany of Resistance. They also held a banner saying, "Courage for Peace,
Not War." The downtown area has no electricity yet, and so they carried a
second banner saying, "Power to the People." Iraqis told them, "We thank God
that Saddam is not in power, and we will thank God again when the Americans

The team is well and in good spirits. They have food and water brought from
Jordan. Yesterday they were able to buy onions and potatoes in the market.
They have power from a generator eight hours a day. The team continues to
make contacts in the neighbourhood and explore possibilities for future
work. During the phone call there were several bursts of gunfire and at
least one big fire was burning in the distance. Then an armoured vehicle
approached and Martens had to break off the satellite phone call and get off
the roof. She called back a few minutes later to say they were okay.