A 'Better Way,' and 'Better Friends'


BY JORDAN SCOTT


 

What does it mean to be “better friends than mountains”? How do we befriend the Kurdish people? The answer is simple. Move to Kurdistan and be present with this marginalized and hurting people in northern Iraq—that is a good start. Be a faithful witness to the friendship of Jesus, who “dwelt among us” as one of us—that is essential.[1] 

Sometimes friendship looks like the hard slog of learning an obscure language. Kurdish isn't exactly an international business language. It isn't really useful for anything else but communicating with Kurds and sharing the Good News that they've never heard in their heart language. How sweet is that to Kurdish ears? To me, it sounds much sweeter than the echoes of lonely mountains.

Sometimes being a friend means sipping tea in Kurdish living rooms. The Kurds are some of the most hospitable people on this earth, so you’ll spend a lot of time in their homes eating delicious meals or sipping tea. All the discipleship strategies, all the missiological treatises, though worthy to consider, aren’t what matter most. What matters most is being here. Whether that means being here during a war or being here to share lunch, being with the Kurdish people is the beginning of true friendship.

Don’t over complicate what it means to befriend this people. Frontier Alliance International has been running a medical relief effort here in Kurdistan as a part of being good friends to the Kurds. However, I’m not a medical professional. The closest thing I have to medical training is an expired lifeguard certification from 10 years ago. Still, my contribution matters. We can engage in successful relief ministry all day long but if we don't make heart connections, build friendship, and share the gospel, what are we even doing? If I’m going to not make disciples, I can do that anywhere. If I’m going to not make disciples, you better believe you can find me near a beach scuba diving. We didn't move to an Iraqi war zone to feel good about bringing band-aids. The day our medical relief is an end in itself and not about the Lord getting the Kurds as friends is the day that we pack up and go home. No—our heart cry is that Jesus would have the Kurdish friends He deserves.

Friendship with Kurds begins with our friendship with Jesus. Our obedience, our friendship, to Jesus results in His friendship with them. Jesus said to his followers, “Go and make disciples… and teach them to obey everything I command you.”[2] Or in other words, 'teach them to be My friends. Because it’s My friends who do what I command.'

It doesn't take a complex strategy to carry out the great commission, to go and make disciples in all nations and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Jesus already told us what He wants and laid it out very succinctly. Our role is to go out and find those “persons of peace,” those men who need no convincing because the Lord is already drawing them, referred to in Luke 10. We disciple these people of peace to salvation by teaching them to read the Word, to obey it, and to share it—in other words, to be friends of God. He wants multiple generations of multiplying disciples who adore the Son and obey Him because they love Him. Let’s not lose sight of the childlike simplicity of our calling: the easy burden of a loving obedience to Jesus.

The hardest part of making disciples in Kurdistan has already been done for us. A friend of mine personally knows the man who translated the Bible into Sorani Kurdish. This man, along with his family, spent 20 years in Kurdistan putting the Word in this language. So when we come here to minister, all we do is slide a finished Sorani Kurdish Bible across the table and begin a discussion—and anyone can do that!

The Great Commission is not complex. Making disciples is not complex. Befriending the Kurdish people is not complex. But even though it is simple, it does require something of you. Whether you’re a doctor, a film guy, or just a simple guy like me, if you love the Lord and want to see His soon return, you must participate in those activities that look for and hasten the coming day of God.[3] 

 

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Jordan Scott lives in Iraqi Kurdistan with his wife and two children, where he serves as Director of Community Development. He can be reached by email at Jordan@faimission.org.


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[1] John 1:14
[2] Matthew 28:19-20, John 15:14
[3] 2 Peter 3:12