By Tim Hunt
Travelling to Iraq with Pastor TimUploaded: Feb 16, 2016
Tim Barley is known around Valley Bible Church as the “pastor of disaster.”
He has earned that nickname by being the person the church sends to challenging disaster scenes around the world to scope out what can be done and how the church can help. He’s a long-time pastor to youth and their families at the church next to ClubSport. He also is single. Among the areas he responded to are Haiti and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
His latest trip was to Iraq near the border with Turkey to minister to the Yezidis. The Yezidis are in a terrible vice. The tribal religion of this sect involves what seems to be Satan worship so Tim says they are despised by conservative Muslims as well as some branches of the Christian church. They are isolated and targeted by the radical Isis group as “infidels” because of their religious beliefs. That’s why they fled from their home area north to the spot near Turkey.
The connection for Tim and his church is Erich Weiger, a missionary from San Leandro who they have supported for a number of years. Erich was working in Turkey when he met Francis Fadhell, a Christian concerned about helping the Yezidis and invited him to visit them. After the connection, Erich reached out to Valley Bible.
Tim and Erich went into Iraq with a medical team that included two dentists and two physicians. One of the most powerful moments was when a woman brought her young child to see a physician as the child was having an epileptic seizure. The physician had no medicine appropriate for the seizure, so the team laid hands on the child and prayed for God to intervene. The child quickly relaxed and the symptoms went away.
Incidentally, one of the most popular “giveaways” the team brought were reading glasses. Many people fled for their lives with little or no time to gather their belongings. For older folks, that often meant their glasses were left behind and they could not read. The “Dr. Dean’s (Edell)” over-the-counter glasses made a huge difference.
One of Tim’s favorite times was when he was struggling to entertain some kids while their parents were engaged elsewhere. He found a soccer ball and that is the universal language. They had a great time.
An early step they took was helping Francis get the ministry operation out of his home where he lives with his wife and their four children. With a building rented, that’s become the community center for food distribution, Bible studies and other services.
Barley said that about half of the Yezidis would like to return to their homeland, while the other half are ready to leave and find a new life elsewhere.
Tim and his partners are now working to set up a non-profit so interested people can contribute funds for food, tents, job training and other needs of this isolated people who have fled from a war zone.