Friday, March 7, 2014

Where Are You? What Do You Do? What Is It Like?

Mafraq, Jordan

The meaning of Mafraq is crossroad.  Mafraq is the largest city and the capitol  in the Mafraq Governorate.  I apologize for not inserting a map and photos, but I am still climbing a "skill" mountain being forced by circumstances to learn a whole new operating system.

Google maps and images will give you an understanding of Mafraq, Jordan.  In the last two years Mafraq has doubled in size because of the influx of Syrian refugees.  The community is making many adjustments because of Syrian refugees. 

While you are out on the Internet view images for Zaarai Refugee Camp.  It is ten km east of Mafraq.   The pictures will help you understand the HUGE need.   The camp is becoming one of the largest cities in Jordan.

Small Church,  Huge Opportunity

 Inspired by God's Love and obeying Christ's teaching, the congregation was already serving their community and those in need when the Syrian Crisis expanded their opportunities.

They have become a center for distribution of needed items for the Syrian refugees who have come to live in Mafraq (see prior posting for photos) .  A school has been opened for unschooled refugee children.  I am serving as an assistant at this school. 

By visiting Syrian refugees in their homes friendships are made and needs are discovered and met with further assistance.


God has sent an amazing assortment of people from all over the world to help!  Individuals and mission teams coming for a variety of lengths of time.  

What is happening here could only be accomplished through God's direction.  It is my joy to be a part of the action.  God is faithful!

Many of the internationals are young people in their 20's.  Interacting with them, hearing their faith stories and seeing their service of love has been an unexpected joy.

Internationals using Holy Spirit-gifting in music to enhance our worship.

Team Canada in Jordan

A team from Canada arrived this week.  They brought school supplies packed in their individual suitcases.

 My Lodging

The apartment where  I stay is about six blocks from the church.  Ten women, one bathroom would be the crass way to explain my lodging.  I have had an upgrade, however.  Instead of six in my bedroom, I have been graced with a room of my own.  Actually there is a second bed in my room, but it is just going to be used for occasional overflow from the lodging at the church.

 A sunset from our roof.

My apartment is the middle floor of a three story house.  The people in the apartments on the first and top floor are members of the congregation.  They treat us as family, their homes are open to all of us for anything we need.

We got to be part of a family surprise party on the first floor.

Parties at our Apartment

Our "house" hosted some gatherings, I, for sure, was always the oldest participant!  For an example, at a departing party for one of the internationals,  twenty  people attended and we were from nine different countries.  I am so glad they all have a second language, English.  Except for two of us, all were in their 20's.  The main dish was cooked by a volunteer raised in the Philippians and the sparkling desert is from an Irish tradition.





A School Day

Before School

Two other teacher assistants walk to school with me.  Although school starts at 9:AM,  the students arrive earlier so I have "playground" duty until 9:00.  The school is in the process of expanding and hopefully will obtain better playground equipment.

Students and Teacher

The students are taught concepts based on Common Core Standards for the grade level.

 The students are taught English, Arabic, science and math every day.  The science is taught in Arabic.  The math is taught in Arabic two days a week and a combination of Arabic and English the other two days.
The seven of us involved on a daily basis at the school come from four different countries.

First Period of the Day

Students spend part of the time in individual activities of their choice; looking at books, working puzzles and listening to stories. 

Stories are read to the students in both Arabic and English.  Singing is often a part of this opening period of school.  Many of the international teams participate by leading the singing.


Individual Enrichment

Using members of the various volunteer groups students receive individual enrichment in both English and Arabic.









Science Lessons This Week

Science lessons this week were learning about the body.  Thursday's lesson was on where the various sensations of taste are located on the tongue . 

The students had fun tasting sweet, sour, salty and bitter things.

How bitter is bitter?

Some enjoyed the bitter taste.


Mid-Morning Recess

Everyone enjoyed getting snacks and playing.

English for the Congregation Members 

Three evenings a week I am involved with congregation members who want to improve their English.  Their hearts desire is to be more effective servants of Christ by improving their English so they can interact with the the many internationals who serve through this ministry.

They are such eager learners and a lot of fun to be around.

 This interaction with the church family has been an added joy.  God's love flows through them to Ellen and me as well as to the Syrian and Jordan community they serve.

Women's Meeting

One of the unforgettable experiences of this assignment has been my attendance at the women's meetings.  The women of the congregation have shared their love and homes with me.   At the meetings the devotions are translated for me.  

The fervent prayer at each meeting shows that this church's ministry is covered in prayer.

Praise God with me for the comfort and care they showed me and the way God works through them as they labor on behalf of the Syrian refugees.

Answered Questions

This is a long answer to the questions asked in the title.   I will be in Jordan until the end of March and back in MI the first week in June.  I will be available to make presentations at your church or gatherings and am willing to answer any further questions you may have.