Heat, danger, dust, and death formed the context for the job I was sent to do. Operating from the philosophy that “ministry follows friendship,” I built relationships among the men and women at Camp Echo: military, civilian, American, and Coalition. This allowed me to be there when they were at their best and when they were at their worst, in their strongest moments and in their weakest.
In the heat of the battle and the heat of the desert, hours turn into days, which transition to nights, and add up to weeks and then months. The conditions wear you down, leaving an imprint on your mind and your soul: images that will be seen in dreams for months or years, sounds that reverberate long after you’re home, people you befriended and cared about and stared at death with, but will probably never hear from again. For many of us, it’s only memory now. But for others, the war continues … on the inside. (From chapter one of the new book, Safest Place in Iraq).
Even on good days, living for Christ is a challenging, risk-laden endeavor.One way to make the task a bit easier is to see how other Christianshave successfully navigated their temptations and struggles.
Safest Place in Iraq aims to do just that, by peering behind the curtain and showing how one military chaplain handled the various dangers, people, and circumstances he encountered during his war-time deployment in South Central Iraq. The result is a story that ranges from death and destruction to friendship and faith, and from temptation and torment to redemption and revival. Colonel Paul Linzey identifies the broad themes that everyone—both Christian and non-Christian—has to deal with when the going gets tough. He also shows by example what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles, whether dodging mortars in the desert, or fighting fear, loneliness, and temptation at home or at work. And in the process, Safest Place in Iraq shows that it is possible to remain true to one’s values and calling as a person of faith in a hostile world.
Safest Place in Iraqwould be perfect for individual reading, but it’s also ideally suited for a small group discussion such as a home group, bible study, a men’s group.
In addition to telling the stories of answered prayer, divine intervention, and people coming to faith in Christ, it answers questions that people are asking about Christians in the military, overcoming temptation, and other issues.