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Iraq project progresses, U.S. Army officers step in to help

By Billy Ray, Regional Director Iraq

Yesterday, we pulled into Soran and meandered through the city to our 'new' temporary home.

As I stepped into the courtyard of the house a great relief flooded my soul. It's been nearly a year and a half since we began work in Soran, and this was the first time that I would be able to do it, knowing that at the end of the day, a grueling 2 hour journey was not awaiting me.

We unloaded our stuff, then headed off to meet with the Mayor.

An American couple has recently joined our 'team' and had yet to meet with the Mayor, so we swung by to pay him a visit.

After introductions we talked about the recent bombings of villages along the border by Iran, the progress of our project, a recent donation opportunity by the US Army base in town, and the possibility of bringing the Mayor to the United States to meet the Mayor of Castle Rock, Colorado where the headquarters of World Orphans is located.

Later, I phoned the local US Army commander and asked if we could stop by the base.

About a month and a half ago, I met the commander and a few of his crew while leaving the Mayor's office. He used to be stationed in Egypt where he and his family had worked with orphans on a regular basis, so he was quite interested in our work.

One day, in a break from their busy schedule we arranged for them to see our community center in development. Soon after that, the commander approached me and said that they would like to help us with some our needs.

Yesterday, he told me that they had some extra furniture that they would like to donate to us, including several bunk beds that we hope to use for our new guest house, some kitchen appliances, and even a full size generator. One that would normally cost us over $15,000 if we had to buy it ourselves.

The mayor already agreed to offer a truck and a crane to haul the generator to our project site. Praise the Lord!!!

Things really do seem to be taking shape here.

After the meeting, we went and signed a contract on a house for the new American family that is joining us. It was a full days work, but this time the journey 'home' lasted just 3 delicate minutes, and so glad was I.

To read Billy Ray's blog click here.

To read more about the Soran project or get involved click here.



The Start of Soccer Fields in Iraq

By Billy Ray | Regional Director Iraq

As the days lengthen drawing near to the middle of the year, the sun pops it's head above the horizon surprisingly early. At 4:15am we sprung out of bed, hitting the road with all the family. At 7:30 the bulldozer arrived at our project site in Soran. It was "moving dirt" day. Over the next few weeks, we'll be preparing a portion of our land for the start of our first soccer field for the local community.

Check out these pics:

Let the excavation begin
Boys watching the bulldozer in  action

There was literally tons of dirt that needed to be moved and spread around. In all it took almost 5 hours for the bulldozer, and another 2 hours for a grader. The boys loved every minute of it.

Boys throwing rocks
Bulldozer loading the truck with  dirt
Children watching the Bulldozer
Starting to look better
Getting close to the action
Nearly Done 1
View from atop the Community Center
Time for the Grader
Graded land ready as a soccer field

All in all, it took about 7 hours for us to prepare the land. In the next step, we'll be building a wall around the field, plant some grass, paint some lines, and put up some soccer goals.

Thanks for following this project with us and thanks for your prayers.

As you can imagine the kids in the neighborhood are more than excited!

You can read more from Billy at his blog, Rescue Iraq.