Why I am Traveling to Jordan

By Pastor Mark Tanious

This Saturday, I will be joining a team of church leaders from around the country and staff from the Christian organization, World Relief, on a vision trip to Jordan. I shared some information at our last members meeting, but would like to share more fully why I am going on this trip.

The global refugee crisis has reached epic proportions. The numbers are just staggering. The most recent reports indicate there are over 65 million refugees (displaced people) in the world today. To put that in perspective, that means 1 in every 113 people on the planet has now been driven from their home by persecution, conflict and violence, or human rights violations.[1] This is unbelievably heartbreaking.

Jordan hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. It has taken in over 2.7 million refugees so far.[2] Meaning, Jordan continues to bear an excessively heavy burden in providing humanitarian aid and support for these displaced people. Nearly all of these displaced people are fleeing their homes because they have no other choice. They are experiencing persecution or violence in their home countries. Can you imagine how bad it would have to get for you to decide to take your family and leave all your home, job, support network, belongings, and go to an unknown country where you will have little or no rights? My mind can barely grasp the horrors of having to choose between these two dreadful options.

But, in the midst of such intolerable suffering, there is hope. Christians around the world are beginning to feel the weight of the crisis and are partnering together to do what they can. That’s why I appreciate the work of World Relief (WR). World Relief is an organization rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its mission is to stand with the vulnerable and partner with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. That is exactly what they are doing in Jordan.

There are about 72 brick and mortar churches in Jordan. WR has committed to coming alongside these churches and helping bring support, training, and resources which will allow these churches to meet the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of these refugees. This includes finding ways to protect and nurture children of displaced families. It also includes training to help deal with the systemic breakdown of the family that has plagued the region. All of this is being done with the goal of pointing people to the One who can bring ultimate peace and healing, Jesus Christ.

Churches are shining the light of Jesus as they minister to these refugees. They are fighting injustice, caring for the vulnerable, meeting needs, and being the hands and feet of Christ. If you want a glimpse of what this looks like, I strongly urge you to watch this four-minute video testimony of Hana, who fled Syria into a neighboring country. You can watch it here. If you do nothing else, please watch this video.

In the video, the pastor of a local church says his congregation is currently serving over 1,000 children. He says, the refugees who are predominantly non-Christian will often ask him, why do you help us, why do you care? Hana, a Muslim, gives this incredible testimony, “The church gave us the most help in the way they care for us, in their love for us. They gave us food, they give us clothes…” And amazing, Hana concludes with this statement, “It’s become impossible for us not to go to church because they have become our family.”

Grace family, this is why I am going to Jordan. I want to see first-hand the work of local churches bringing the hope and love of Jesus to the most vulnerable and marginalized. And I want to come back ready to share how I sense God calling us to partner and stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I covet your prayers for me and my family. But, more importantly, I ask that you would pray for churches all around the world who are being confronted with challenges far beyond their ability to handle. May the power and grace of our resurrected King provide everything they need to show the all-surpassing greatness of knowing and following Jesus Christ our Lord.

[1] http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/20/482762237/refugees-displaced-people-surpass-60-million-for-first-time-unhcr-says

[2] http://jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-tops-list-refugee-host-countries-%E2%80%94-amnesty