I felt assaulted by the heat and the noise yesterday at the Citadel, high up on a hill in the heart of Amman. From the ruins you could look out over much of the city, taking in thousands of years of history while pointing out the collections of satellite dishes adorning the apartment buildings. I really wanted to push up my sleeves, but I didn’t want to offend or scandalize the Muslim women covered head to toe who were behind us taking selfies. In my head I heard again the words of our partner in Jordan, “Be hopeful. God is moving.”
The war that has raged on for five years in Syria has now invaded Iraq as well, and has brought millions of refugees into Jordan. The walls of communities and family networks that have kept everyone in their place for generations are beginning to crumble as families are scattered across nations. Today we prayed as we walked through two different neighborhoods in Amman, praying for the ministries and the people we met there. There were women in burkas who refused to meet my eyes, and others who called out greetings in English. I felt the condemning eyes of many men on me as we walked past, but one raced over to shake my hand and welcome me to his neighborhood. Later we met with a woman and prayed for a ministry to empower single mothers in a Muslim nation. Be patient. God is moving.
Many of the refugees are disillusioned with their faith, the same faith that is proclaimed by their persecutors. They are willing to talk to foreigners and Christians that they shunned and scorned not long ago. These are the people who are reaching out to help them now. A faith that was considered unshakable a decade ago is shaking now. While many of these people may end up with no faith at all, this is a chance for the church to reach out and engage in conversations that would never have been possible before. Be hopeful. God is moving.
I can’t imagine what will happen tomorrow as we go out to a village to support a church that is reaching out to Syrian refugees. I can’t imagine a thousand tomorrows from now, when that little girl who is heavy on my heart will take her place behind the veil. I can’t know the long-term impact of the home visits we will go on, a chance to hear the stories of families who fled war to come to a country where they aren’t allowed to work. I am unprepared for the reality of a medical clinic in Lebanon, for the women and the children I will meet there that I can’t speak to because I don’t know their language. But I am hopeful. And I am patient. Because anyone with eyes to see can see that God is moving here. And I am blessed to bear witness to it.