BBC and the Shepherd Society recently sent two teams to Jordan to serve with local churches that have refugee ministries. Several churches in Amman provide support to Iraqi refugees who have fled Mosul in recent months. Many of these refugees are Christians who arrived in Amman with only the clothes on their back. The Alliance Church in Mafraq have been serving Syrian refugee families for more than two years. Both teams were able to visit dozens of families, showing God’s love through their presence, their words of encouragement and their prayers.
In Amman, the churches provide basic necessities like food, clothing, baby supplies and medicine. Over five days the team visited 45 refugee families, hearing their accounts of losing everything but grateful to God to have escaped at all. One element is common to all their stories – they have been traumatized. In just one single day, each of them left everything they’d spent a lifetime building; they left their past, their future, their whole life behind. But, unlike the Syrian refugees in Mafraq, they don’t want to return. They see no future for Christians in Iraq. Not only have they been traumatized, they have suffered at the hands of their own neighbors. The UN will resettle them in other countries in the West. But the most remarkable thing the team witnessed is that these families don’t curse their circumstances. They don’t seek revenge for their persecution and they don’t blame God. They simply wait for the day that they can rebuild their lives.
The Alliance Church in Mafraq, only a short drive to the Syrian border, serves the large population of Syrian refugees who have also fled hostility and unrest. Like the church in Amman, this church has an outreach ministry that provides clothing, food, baby supplies and medicine to refugee families, many of whom have been in Mafraq for years, while at the same time building relationships through home visits. The team was able to join the church on several visits, sharing many cups of tea with these families while simply listening to their stories of suffering and offering to pray for them. Several of the families had children with disabilities, many had lost husbands and sons in the war, and all were in a state of limbo, waiting for some change to the situation so that they might return home. One mother told the team that the people of this church were the only ones who had offered any help or support to them. Each of these families touched our team members with their warmth and hospitality in spite of their humble circumstances, and remind us to be thankful to God in all circumstances.