As national Iraqi and Kurdish forces inside of Mosul continue to fight off ISIS and make gains throughout the middle eastern area, David Eubank, the founder of Free Burma Rangers (FBR) continues to do God’s work in the deadly conflict zone by providing medical care for wounded Iraqi soldiers, feeding the hungry and most importantly bringing the Gospel to those most in need.
Eubank told Faithwire that God led him to Mosul after spending many years in Burma, a place that harshly persecutes Christians for their beliefs, according to Open Doors USA World’s Christian Persecution Watch list.
In a Q & A with the FBR leader, he addresses the calling behind his move to Mosul, dodging ISIS, trusting God and bringing his family to the Middle East.
Faithwire: What inspired you to go to Mosul after having an established presence in Burma?
Eubank: We were asked to come to Kurdistan and help in Feb. 2015 by my friend Victor Marx of ATP ministries. At that time we were on a relief mission in Burma and he sent me an email via sat link and asked us to come in 7 days – but the Burma Army was blocking us…and it took us 19 days walking just to get (out of) where we were then – but we prayed and the next day all of the Burma army units moved and we were able to go directly out and walked 80 miles in 3 days and then were able to get to a border, cross it and got to Kurdistan in 7 days, a miracle for us and a sign God wanted us there.
Once in Kurdistan I asked God what to do and felt God say “give up your own way and give up the FBR way, come help these Kurd people.”
Now, while I am here (in Mosul) I have three prayers: ISIS is stopped, people are free and the hearts of all enemies will change to love in Jesus name.
Faithwire: How did you and your family decide to move to Mosul together? And what lessons has your family taken away from it?
Eubank: We had been working in Burma as a family for 20 years and then in and out of Kurdistan and Syria for the last two years. When most of Kurdistan was liberated from ISIS this past November, we prayed and asked God what we should do. We knew no one in Mosul or anyone in the Iraqi Army. We had no access and no clear leads. We prayed during morning devotions in Kurdistan on Nov. 19th, and that afternoon we were asked by a local NGO if we would be willing to send food in for people in Mosul. They said it was too dangerous for their organization to do. We prayed and felt we shall try and that is how we got started in Mosul.
In Mosul we learned how brave the Iraqi Army is and became close to them.
We also shared about Jesus with them.
Faithwire: Can you describe your routine in Mosul? How does it start and how does it end?
Eubank: We stayed in an abandoned and shot up house with the Iraqi army. Each day ISIS shoots at us with mortars and machine-guns and snipers there. We rise early before dawn to pray and work out (not easy to work out in a war zone but we do what we can each day) and if possible we run around a compound that has some walls for protection. Then we cook breakfast and have our team devotions. We then meet with local Iraqi Army commanders and civilians to plan that day’s distribution of medicine, baby formula, hygiene materials, blankets and fuel. Then we load up everything into five ton army trucks and with an Iraqi Army escort we drive into the neighborhood…to give out supplies.
People line up and sign their names and receive what we have. Usually within one hour, ISIS will attack us and the people, but we are always able to finish the distribution.
The people tell us “Please come back! We need food, why cant you help more? Please do not abandon us…why is there not more help? We dare to risk being shot by ISIS but we have to eat and we want to stay in our homes, so please keep coming.”
ISIS wants to kill its own people and people who try to help – that is ISIS. We do this work as orderly as we can and it is painstaking- but even then we can not meet all the needs and I hope there is more help. We usually finish at dark and go back to our position. At night we meet again to review the day and make plans for the next (one).
All during the day and anytime at night casualties are brought in for our medics to treat. We sleep on the floor in sleeping bags…when needed we take turns being on watch, as ISIS often attacks at night.
Faithwire: What do you most want for the people of Mosul and is this one of the main motivations that keeps you going?
Eubank: To know how much God loves them, to know and follow Jesus in there own way, to be free and able to enjoy life. Also that ISIS is stopped (and people) are free and all hearts change to love in Jesus name.
Faithwire: What do you hope for your children to take away from your mission work? And what kind of legacy do you hope you can create from all of this?
Eubank: To trust and obey God. To know my wife and I love them. To be led by Jesus and his opportunities and to act in courage and love. Not to be led by comfort or fear or security. To be the unique people God made them to be. That all people are made in God’s image and all can be redeemed.
I want our children to be themselves and to be God led, family close, fun, action oriented, lovers of people, animals and nature, adventurers and missionaries no matter their chosen vocation. Most importantly, I want for them to able to live anywhere with anyone and add to God’s beauty.
FBR began in Burma, now the organization’s voice and mission has spread to Sudan and Iraq, specifically from Kurdistan to Mosul.
The Christian based humanitarian agency has many ways to get involved including volunteering and donating.