I'm in Tikrit, Iraq—the small, "home base" city for strongman/dictator Saddam Hussein—for Preemptive Love Coalition's 18th Remedy Mission.
As we pulled into the city last night, we were stopped at the main checkpoint gate to the city by a few friendly, welcoming Iraqi national police. They apologized for the inconvenience and the necessary delay, but they had to be sure to fully document our arrival into the city and ensure that we had the proper permissions and escorts to enter in.
As we sat between the massive concrete and sandbag barriers, I got out of the taxi to talk to the police, government officials, and local doctors who had arrived from the nearby hospital to welcome our team. Standing there at sunset, laughing with new friends on the eve of a history-making healing mission, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with this simple thought:
"I love new beginnings!"
I got back in the taxi and said something to that effect to the rest of my team. "I love first Remedy Missions—program launches in new cities where we've never worked before."
One of the visiting nurses asked what I liked so much about them. With Tikrit being the sixth city in which we've worked to launch long-term surgical development programs, I rattled off this list:
—the belief that this time will be better than everything we've done in every other city to date
—the smiles and hospitality
—the sense among so many that these healing missions stand for so much more than heart surgery
—the hustle and bustle of trying to make things that are broken work again (or for the first time)
Preemptive love is a critique of the status quo. Preemptive love says "This is not good enough." Preemptive love says, "With God's grace, we can be changed. And if we can be changed, then we can change our city, our country, and our world."