ARLINGTON?”When you glorify God, that penetrates the darkness all across this world,” proclaimed Carrie McDonnall, sharing her testimony of returning to the Middle East in Iraq with her husband, David.
She and two other women with Texas roots shared testimonies of God’s work around the world during the women’s session of the annual SBTC evangelism conference.
“We desired for the Iraqi people to know and experience the faithfulness of God, then turn to glorify him,” she said, relating Psalm 108. “Both of us had a good grasp on the language and culture and immediately began to do development and relief work,” she said, describing their focus on water projects.
McDonnnall recalled, “We weren’t just excited about God providing their basic, vital need of water, but going back to build on that relationship, to be able to invest our lives in theirs and live out and be Jesus to them, then share with them who he is so that hopefully, one day, we could offer them the true and living water as Jesus described.”
That part of the story would never happen for the missionary couple, she said. As they traveled a familiar road through Mosul, Iraq in March 2004, men surrounded the team and began shooting with automatic weapons, she said, killing three of their co-workers. Several Iraqi men risked their lives to help the McDonnalls get to safety after being fired upon. She sat injured beside the road as her husband arranged for her to be transferred to another vehicle. Meanwhile, another man reached out to pull the hem of her skirt over her ankles to maintain her modesty, she recalled.
“Over years of hearing of violence after 9/11, we have forgotten they are people exactly like you and me,” she said, noting the common concerns of both cultures. “They send children off to school and hope for their safety. They want them to have a better life than they’ve had, just like many of us. I share so that you can see the sovereignty of God in my absolute worst nightmare.”
Not only was God not surprised by the events of that day, McDonnall said, “He made sure there were men who were brave enough and who had compassion to go above and beyond what anyone would have expected. That did not happen by chance.”
With 22 bullet wounds and shrapnel from head to toe, she endured a 10-hour surgery to stabilize her body, before being transported back to Texas in a medically-induced coma. “They were considering amputating my left leg, but the Lord healed it. One bullet went through my chest and didn’t hit any vital organs. Two bullets went through my face so I’ve got a bigger dimple now.
When McDonnall woke up in Parkland Hospital in Dallas eight days later, she was surrounded by her family, and then told that her husband had died a week earlier from his injuries.
“Sitting in that hospital bed I was thinking this is what the Valley of the Shadow of Death is like.” Quoting from Scripture, she shared, “‘I do not fear evil, for you are with me.’ Ladies, that is exactly where I found my God. He was with me, comforting me and even protecting me.”
McDonnall admitted, “I had some dark days and some really awesome days. God was faithful in all of it.” For whatever reason, believers will face trials and sufferings, she reminded. “He’s the God of all grace and compassion and will comfort us in our afflictions. He’s close to the broken-hearted. He will bind up our wounds. I had one or two of those and my heart was shattered.”
Citing Hebrews 10:23, McDonnall encouraged women to hold fast to their confession without wavering despite their circumstances. “Stay in his Word. He is faithful.”
After a month-long hospital stay, 10 surgeries and countless hours of physical and occupational therapy, McDonnall said she never imagined being where she is now. “I didn’t see this one coming.” And yet, she insisted, “It is a privilege to go and tell about Jesus and all that he’s done in our lives.”
Reminding women that God calls them to carry light into the dark places of the world, McDonnall encouraged them to share their faith. “He has you in that neighborhood where he has you because of someone who needs Jesus. Christ’s love compels.”
Career missionary Rebekah Naylor shared accounts of how God reveals his glory, directing attention to the scriptural account of the transfiguration of Christ.
“Across our world today many people are being awakened by his glory,” she said, sharing that 3,000 people a