Jordan Trip 2019

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The Hope


“For I know the plan I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 Our first full day was long and required a lot of physical and emotional strength, both of which we were blessed with all day.

The women who received the manicures and facials said they felt like women for the first time since arriving in Jordan. The pressures of caring for family, mourning loved ones, and being in a foreign land have been difficult for these women. To have their inner femininity be stripped from them is overwhelming and devastating.

The Holy Spirit has provided a boldness for several in our group that we have never experienced. We are being moved to share our faith in ways we have not before.

Teaching the teachers provides them with the future. They are able to continue on in their positions, not just reading directly from the curriculum, but learning methodology and tricks of successful language teaching. In turn, the teachers at the center are developing a gift and providing for the future of their students. Sharing a vision for the future with the teachers, opens the door to possibilities and gives them hope for beyond today.

In the late afternoon, we were in small conversation groups with young (18-30) adults. Many of the groups were mixed men/women and Jordanian/Syrian. This was an opportunity to use English in conversation, something that is not common here. It is exhausting to have to constantly translate in your head, first the input, then to turn around and speak. One young man was holding his head, when asked if he was OK, he replied that it was good to have a headache, it meant that he was using his brain.

In another small group, the conversation about goals turned to what Jordan can and can not provide. Many people struggle with finding jobs, not just refugees. Feeling compelled, we asked if we could pray for them. With a look of amazement, they proclaimed, “You are real Christians!” Please pray that this opens the door for deeper conversation this evening.

On a lighter note, we are beginning to learn some of the languages. This is often well received, except on the rare occasion when one of us mispronounces a word and says something inappropriate. Surprisingly, despite the culture of discretion, results in a lot of laughter among the Arabic speakers, and mockery in a loving way. Travel tip: there aren’t any words that are the same in Arabic and Spanish, except maybe “Coca Cola.”

Also, we are eating well… Below is a picture from the Yemeni restaurant from last night. We have no idea what we ate, but it was cheap, delicious, and we want to go back.

Heading North

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”

Matthew 6:33

Today we began our work with World Relief. We have received in-depth cultural and political/historical training before heading to Mafraq. We learned about the original Christians in the region, and why they disappeared. We have learned about the tensions in the region from a different perspective.

On the ride north, we had an encounter with a camel herd and watched the landscape change from the city skyline to the desert. The highway was peppered with strip-malls housing KFCs and gas stations next to open stretches where Bedouins and Gypsies have made their camps, as well as farms dotting the brown landscape green.

David and Susan have already headed out for a health-related home visit. The rest of us gathered for a pre-church snack and discussed what we have been seeing and what to prepare for tomorrow. Below are some of the first impressions we have had of Mafraq:

“My first impression was it is more commercial than I expected; there are more stores. The World Relief Staff is very positive and excited to meet us and serve alongside us.”

It has a resort town feel… the shape of the buildings, palm trees. It is a bit bigger than I expected. It’s just a little town in the dessert.”

I thought the World Relief staff was joking about shopping at Safeway, but there we were, buying breakfast provisions and snacks at Safeway right around the corner from where we will be teaching. We are in the desert, little vegetation, brown that stretches as far as the eye can see, and then there is a town, part modern, part run-down.”

“Compared to Amman, people are just as nice here. They are friendly, and very open to westerners. It’s much quieter than Amman, very peaceful.”

It is pleasantly refreshing. It’s open and accessible…it’s friendly.”

The sounds of Mafraq: What we thought was an ice cream truck was a man selling gasoline. A man on a loud speaker on the back of the truck who sounded like he was protesting was in fact selling watermelons. Kids running up and down the streets yelling and laughing.

Tomorrow we begin our official work with World Relief. Please pray for restful sleep, energy for our full days, listening to the Holy Spirit guiding our conversations, and planting the seeds of Christ.