I just got back from a couple of weeks in Amman, Jordan. Another Central member and I were there to seek potential mission opportunities for Central.
Amman, the capitol, is a beautiful modern city and I felt very safe walking around and meeting people. We had joined with a team out of Crossroads Church in Temperance, Michigan, and spent time at the Evangelical Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Haythim Mazahreh is working with refugees and his ministry is growing faster than he can manage.
His church is a distribution point for food aid, clothing and household goods for refugees coming to Jordan from Iraq and Syria where wars continue to drive them from their homes.
We were blessed to be invited in the homes of five different families, one family of Syrian Muslims and four families of Iraqi Christians. We were treated as honored guests and served coffee (very strong), tea (very very strong) or bottled water depending on the economic condition of the family. We met Chaldean Christians, Armenian Christians and Nazarenes, what Christians are called in Iraq.
Each family shared a little of their history with us and these stories were horrific, heart-breaking tales of abuse, murder, rape and deprivation. My biggest take away from those meetings was how very little I appreciate the freedoms that we, the Western Church, have in America. I take so very much for granted.
Pastor has developed his church compound into a warehouse for the food and clothing distribution, a Worship Center that probably seats over 100, a craft area where refugees, who are not legally allowed to work in Jordan, put time in hand making items for a shop so that they can receive a voucher toward their rent in lieu of salary, and a school because the refugee's children are not entitled to public schools.
It was when we visited the school that I had my most powerful epiphany. The teachers had the children, 4-year-olds through 8-year olds, draw pictures of their life in Jordan and there were trees, swings, friends and such. They then drew pictures of what life was like before they left their homes in Iraq and these little kids drew pictures of rifles, bombs, fighter jets, tanks, horrific things for children to have to deal with.
And therein lies the need, to help these refugees, our fellow Christians, who have been persecuted for righteousness sake, to find new homes, make new lives and raise their children in a world that doesn’t include their family members being killed for wearing a cross around their neck. A place where being a Christ-follower doesn’t cost them their life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.
This is where my mind has been ruminating. So many questions, so few answers. We did meet other people and other ministry opportunities presented themselves. We had a day of adventure and visited Petra (8.5 miles of hiking and a Fitbit counted 75 flights of stairs) and saw some amazing sites and such, I will write more later. I am just still trying to get my mind around all I saw, heard and felt.