Jordan - July 2010


Dates:  July 8-18
Ministry Partner:  Unlisted for security reasons
Ministry Focus:  Compassion ministry to Iraqi refugees and the urban and rural poor

The team from Grace will be involved in a multi-faceted compassion ministry to the poor – some of them refugees from Iraq who have fled the war in their homeland. 

Updated Sunday, July 18
With the safe return this afternoon of our second Jordan team, this year's ministry in the Middle East draws to a close.  Thank you for praying our team through many wonderful opportunities to represent Christ in a place such great Biblical and historical significance.

Be sure to join us for the Summer Missions Celebration on Sunday, September 19, at 6:00pm in the Worship Center, where you will have an opportunity to hear first-hand from the Jordan team and the other teams that have taken God's grace to the nations this year.

Our Jordan July Team with Jamal (far right) and his staff and volunteers

Updated Thursday, July 15
Monique writes
The team is having a marvelous time!  We went into a new village yesterday - the first visit from our host partner to this very poor northern town.  Our hosts had a local contact in the vicinity of the town, a new NGO just beginning humanitarian compassion work.  We distributed food boxes and toys during this first contact.  Then, founders of the NGO treated us to "mansaf," a lamb and rice meal with goat milk yogurt sauces, served on one large platter and eaten with your hands - the meal that is thought to be what Abraham served his angelic visitors.  The dinner host was a home pastor- he and his wife have the gift of hospitality.  When we first arrived from the village, he said to Jamal "Are you are all in one piece?!"  Apparently, the village we visited is known for being very violent. 

We were taken to specific homes selected by a director of education that is their contact in the village and we had not experienced any violence or opposition...just grateful families and children whose faces smiled after we shared with them.  What a joy to be able to do this! 

Jamal has said that our team has been very refreshing to their spirits.  He, his family and NGO partners are amazing servants.  Jamal has really enjoyed our team singing together.  He has loaned me his son's guitar so we sing often, even while driving from place to place.  

On our way back from Moab, we slept out in the desert at a Bedouin camp - a very rustic but really blessed experience...dinner with lamps about us, and singing and sharing learned lessons so far.  We saw 12 shooting stars as we lay down and went to sleep under the curving shelter of a tall, sheer rock wall.  Looking into the expanse, we couldn't help but think of the night God told Abraham to look at the same view and count the stars, and were reminded to trust Him for great things.  We were protected from desert critters...large geckos, gigantic bugs, baby bobcat and...even a scorpion...just like we had a shield about us in the village!  Nothing bonds a team like sleeping  under the stars together.   (We still giggle about the various experiences that night...saying "what happens in the desert, stays in the desert!")

The call to prayer is wafting through the streets right now and we just completed a very anointed time doing just that.  I was able to share about and practice guided prayer, and everyone appreciated the time speaking to Father.  This team is the Dream Team in many ways as we volunteer joyfully, side by side with our Jordanian friends.  However, we don't want to rest on our laurels but be vigilant - although our unity and transparency with each other is vibrant, an attack could come in a different way.  So keep up the prayers! 

Updated Wednesday, July 14
Sargon writes:
We had the opportunity to meet with a group of South-Asian women and girls. These are young ladies who had come here for work and for various reasons they have taken refuge in the embassy.  With no funds to buy their way back home, they are trapped in their own embassy.  We were given a chance to see them, treat them to lunch and give them some personal care gifts to help with their immediate needs.  But more importantly we were able to speak to them about One person who can give them hope and peace in the middle of their hopeless situation.  

As I shared with them the story of the prodigal son welcomed home by his generous father, you could see that they related to the lost son being far from home. The end of the story was different for them than it was for the lost son. You see, he was able to pick up and go back to his father’s house but they were not, they were stuck.  Sniffles and tears of desperation spread throughout the meeting room.  We then shared with them that there is a heavenly father that has been waiting for them to come home. For the first time they heard that there was a person who had not forgotten about them, who loved them and knew about all their pain, suffering and their burdens. And most importantly, He had proven His love to them. Their eyes starting to see the light and their hearts started to be released from the chains of desperation. At the end, we asked them if they wanted to come to this father and over 60 of them raised their hands and the joy filled the room.  

While we said goodbye to them and they went back to their shared room, they were different, they were smiling, they had put their burdens at the feet of the cross and they were now a new creation. Their condition had not changed yet they had a new heart. Praise to His name, the only one who can release the captive.   

Thank you for your prayers as we continue to reach out here in Jordan!

Updated Tuesday, July 13
Sargon writes:
The last two days have been tiring yet full of blessings.  Our team has been stretched with busy schedules and record temperatures… 104 F yesterday!  We spent the noon hours in one of the desert villages that last year’s team had visited and where goats had been distributed to residents.  This visit in many ways was unique. We visited the house of the family who had received a fridge from the team that had been moved with compassion when they saw the family’s desperate conditions last year... a woman with 7 children whose husband only visits periodically and a does not provide for her.  Her eldest daughter was killed in a car accident shortly before she was to graduate from college, dashing all her hopes for an income through her daughter’s new career.  Last year, she introduced herself as a woman that was cursed and had no hope.  One year later, when we enter her humble dwelling, she and her kids greeted us with smiles that told a different story!  This time was a story of hope, joy and thankfulness.  Her second born, now eldest daughter, is attending a nursing school, and her heart was bubbling over with hope and joy and her words were words of praise and thankfulness. Her desire is to become a nurse and do what we now do, loving people we don't know and showing them compassion. This is what happens when we live out the good news of the gospel!  What a joy to witness their transformation.

The day before was a most stressful day for our team.  As we were visiting Iraqi refugee families, we had the sensation that we were in a rescue operation, as we were face to face with so much hopelessness, poverty and confusion.  As we entered the home of Assyrian Iraqi refugees, our guide sensed that there was so much pain in that house.. While the wife was in the other room, I engaged with the man in Assyrian language and talked to him about the message of hope and salvation. There was a lot of resistance and confusion.  As we continued in our discussion, the rest of the team were in prayer. This was a rescue mission for their souls. Finally after a long conversation, I asked the man if he saw any reason why he would not invite Jesus in his life and he responded, “no,” and was now prepared to invite the Lord into his life.  After bringing his wife into the room and speaking to her about the love of Christ, they both gave their hearts to Christ and a new hope and joy replaced the fear and hopelessness in that house. As we prayed, tears came out of the woman’s eyes as her heart was being healed of so much pain and suffering.  Praise to be to our God who is the healer of hearts and savior of the lost and broken.  

Please pray for us as we continue to show compassion to the brokenhearted, hopeless and captives.  We want to thank you all, for it is your love and compassion that has made this possible. While you are far away, your prayers are encouraging and strengthening us every step of the way. 

Updated Sunday, July 11
Monique writes:

Ahalan....Greetings!  Mid-day Saturday, after a warm welcome and lunch with our hosts, we began to pack boxes with some basic food staples…rice, white beans, lentels, chick peas, oil, soap and a variety of canned foods...enough to feed a family for up to two weeks.  We compiled donated toys and treats for children, too.  Dividing into three groups, each matched with a host/interpreter, we went out into the community surrounding a fellowship in the eastern part of town.   

Sargon and I accompanied the local pastor down dusty back roads to the apartment of a young Egyptian woman with three small children, 6 and under, whose husband is back in Egypt for an operation that was too expensive for them in Jordan.  Her sister, her husband and their 2 yr. old daughter are also living in the apartment due to the recent collapse of their apartment nearby.  When the roof collapsed, the sister (currently 4 mos. pregnant), was injured by the debris, her leg required stitches and her chest wound is still bandaged.  She still welcomed us to come in and sit by her bed.  They shared of their challenges yet their eyes lit up as they spoke of their dreams of a better life for their children.  Sargon spoke of the Father’s love and sacrifice for his children.  The church will continue to be an encouragement in the days ahead while this family seeks healing.   

Another recipient of a box of groceries was a grateful father who said that earlier in the day he had gone to the market to get chicken and chickpeas, but when he saw the price of the chickpeas were too expensive, he had to come home without purchasing any.  He said he had the strange sensation that God was going to take care of his family’s needs.  (Our box of staples included a generous bag full of chickpeas!)  He expressed his gratefulness and was willing to talk about more than mere physical needs.  He and his daughters spoke to the Father to submit their hearts and receive an eternal inheritance! 

In another home, a teenage neighbor listened intently to the conversation.  Mikhael couldn’t help but notice the pain behind her eyes and asked her for the reason.  She and her family just arrived here 6 days ago from Iraq, having survived painful persecution.  Members of our team spoke words of comfort and healing, encouraging her towards the only one who can truly heal her heart.  

Some of the returning members of the team expressed a sense of urgency in taking advantage of the opportunities that are open to us right now to bring this kind of hope and encouragement to the people of this place.  Having no guarantee that we will be able to speak a second time to these families, there is a desire to be sure to speak of what is most valuable in life, finding peace with the creator. As they reflected on it, they realized that that same urgency should be felt just as much at home around the people with whom we have daily contact in Santa Clarita, yet it is easy to be lulled into complacency thinking we have more time and other opportunities. In reality, we have no guarantees.  Who will cross your path today...this week....that needs to know of the hope within you?!  

We look forward to joining in worship with a local fellowship Sunday, followed by more visits to neighbors with love gifts of food boxes, toys and words of eternal hope.

Updated Saturday, July 10
Facebook chat with Sargon:
The team had a great first day and is in good spirits.  The schedule is full, so they ask for prayer for health and strength.  They may have an open door to share the gospel in Amman at the embassy of a south-Asian country, and Sargon asks that we pray for that opportunity.
The team had a great first day and is in good spirits.  The schedule is full, so they ask for prayer for health and strength.  They may have an open door to share the gospel in Amman at the embassy of a south-Asian country, and Sargon asks that we pray for that opportunity.

Updated Saturday July 10
E-mail from Scott Gillis, leader of our first Jordan team

I received a call this morning from the team, who was greatly encouraged by their first day of ministry in Jordan (Saturday). Our host in Jordan reported excitedly that in one house a man and his three daughters all prayed to receive Christ into their hearts. In another home, an 85-year old Palestinian man bowed his head in surrender to the Savior. What an encouraging start to a full week of ministry in Jordan! Obviously, the team members were thrilled as well.

The team seemed enthusiastic and in high spirits, encouraged by what the Lord was doing in and through them. Sunday and Monday, as you start your day, pray for the team, as they will once again be visiting homes in the late part of the day in Jordan (early morning in the Pacific time zone). And remember, where there is fruit, there will likely be spiritual opposition, so pray earnestly for the team, that their love will grow for the people they visit, and for one another.

Updated Saturday, July 10

Monique writes:

On behalf of the Jordan Team, I am writing to let you know that we have arrived at our destination safe and sound!  Our 4-hour layover in Frankfort helped us adjust to the new time zone.   Arriving in Amman after 2 AM, all our bags arrived with us...yay!  We had packed goodies to share with the children and people we meet, so we are glad that everything made it here with us.

We finally settled in to our rooms and got our heads on pillows just as the first morning call to prayer sounded from the local mosques.  We were able to sleep in Saturday morning and will get to meet up with our hosts -Global Hope Network - mid-day.  We are so thankful for this opportunity and thank you for having a part in our time here.

Temperatures are expected to be around 100 degrees F the next few days...ask Father for endurance and energy and open hearts.  Grace2U