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‘God is hugging me,’ survivor of Iraq attack says from hospital

DALLAS (BP)–Along one wall of Carrie McDonnall’s hospital room, arms and hands made out of construction paper reach out, as though inviting a hug. Between the arms, messages of love and encouragement nestle, lovingly written by children from Cedar Ridge Baptist Church in Thomasville, N.C.

These “hugs” are especially appropriate for Carrie, herself a “hugger.” And they reflect the loving care God has provided since the attack in Mosul, Iraq, March 15 that took the life of her husband, David, and three other humanitarian aid workers with the International Mission Board.

The first demonstration of God’s care for her came as three Iraqi men whom she didn’t know overcame Islamic cultural taboos to pull her from the vehicle and support her crumpled, bleeding body in a taxi as it raced to the hospital.


Muslim men are not permitted to touch women who are not family members.

“But these men treated me like a sister,” Carrie said. “They made sure my skirt covered my ankles. They kept me modest.”

One man gently stroked her hair, brushing it back from her face, comforting her while the others helped stabilize her shattered leg and arm during the trip.

At the hospital, U.S. military personnel were called in, and Carrie questioned the first soldiers who arrived. “Do you believe in Jesus?” she asked. “Pray for us.”


As doctors worked on both her and David, two of the soldiers dropped to their knees and began praying for them.

When Carrie arrived in the States, still under heavy sedation, her parents prayed specifically that the medical team selected to work with her would include believers.

“I knew believers [in Jesus] would understand” why she had been in Iraq and her need for prayer, said Margaret Taylor, Carrie’s mother. “The others wouldn’t.”

One of the doctors Taylor identified early as a believer. “He paused in the doorway and seemed to pray with us” when Carrie arrived, Taylor said, “and let us know Carrie would be in God’s hands.”


About a week later, his responsibilities with Carrie complete, this doctor told Taylor that he’d been called to medical missions as a 12-year-old and intends to fulfill that call when he retires.

Early on, another doctor identified himself as a member of First Baptist Church in Dallas and assured Carrie that he and his wife were praying for her.

“God has put her with people who have supported her physically, but also spiritually,” Taylor says.


“I have felt the prayers,” Carrie said. “We’ve been receiving cards and notes from people all over the United States. And God is hugging me through His Word.” She had been reading in 2 Corinthians before the attack and the succeeding chapters, plus references to Isaiah, have been particularly appropriate for the challenges she is facing now.

Carrie underwent surgery March 30 for a skin graft on her left leg and to have a plate put in her right forearm, which will provide additional support for bones shattered in the attack.

“I am improving daily, by God’s grace and His healing hands on my body.”
More on the Iraq shooting http://imb.org/urgent
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CARRIE’S RECOVERY.

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  • Anita Bowden