Tag Archives: Za’atari Camp

Inseparably intertwined

Trinity Sunday (May 26, 2013)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

On Tuesday this week Cindy taught her last English class with Iraqi students here in Amman. Her students threw a party in her honor. For nearly a year now Cindy has been teaching ESL classes for children and adults at the Chaldean Catholic church near the MCC offices in Jabal Webdah.

Cindy with some of her students at the Chaldean Catholic church in Amman

Cindy with some of her students at the Chaldean Catholic church in Amman (photo by Fr. Raymond)

On Wednesday we hosted a lunch for young adult staff from several MCC partners here in Amman. Daryl made West African Groundnut Stew (More-with-Less Cookbook, page 172) for the occasion. We have been inspired by the vision and commitment of many young adults who work with NGOs in Jordan.

On Thursday Carolyne and Gordon Epp-Fransen finished their four-month formal Arabic language training. We now begin a three-week orientation period as they assume the MCC Rep role here in Jordan in mid-June.

Carolyne and Gordon with Mark LaChonce, the director of their Arabic language school

Carolyne and Gordon with Mark LaChonce, the director of their Arabic language school

Saturday morning we fly to northern Iraq to introduce the Epp-Fransen’s to MCC Iraq partners; then on to Istanbul where we will meet with one of MCC’s key Iran partners. Getting visas to Iran is not possible due to the upcoming presidential elections.

In the region this week:

  • UNHCR announced a temporary lull in the arrival of Syrian refugees to Jordan due to intensified fighting on the Syrian-Jordanian border, making it difficult for refugees to cross. On Thursday the World Bank announced that it will provide $150 million of economic support to Jordan to assist with the cost of hosting the refugees. Jordan is currently hosting 540,000 Syrians.
Syrian children haul mattresses into one-room caravan homes at Za'atari Camp (photo by Muath Freij for the Jordan Times)

Syrian children haul mattresses into a one-room caravan home at Za’atari Camp (photo by Muath Freij for the Jordan Times)

  • Syrian opposition leaders began three days of talks in Istanbul, seeking a political solution to the conflict which has taken the lives of some 80,000 Syrians and uprooted an additional 5 million.
Jordanian demonstrators outside the Iraqi embassy in Amman (AP photo in Jordan Times)

Anti-riot police outside the Iraqi embassy in Amman (AP photo in Jordan Times)

The Common Lectionary readings for this Trinity Sunday highlight the interwoven relationships between members of the Trinity.

God, who is Creator and Sovereign, gives humans dominion over creation (Ps. 8) and shares everything with Jesus Christ, God’s son (John 16:15).

Jesus Christ is co-creator with God (Prov. 8:22-31) and mediator between God and humanity. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul declares (Rom. 5:1).

“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” Paul continues (Rom. 5:5). In addition to being the channel of God’s love, the Spirit guides humanity into all the truth, glorifying and bearing witness to Jesus (John 16:13-15).

Such collaboration and unselfish interaction are rare. Indeed, the relationship between the members of the Trinity is a powerful example of the kind of unity that God desires for the human community as well. In a world torn by divisions and fighting, may such unity be so!

Granddaughter Sydney tests the waters and decides it's too cold to climb in (photo by Holden Byler)

Granddaughter Sydney tests the waters and decides it’s too cold to climb in (photo by Holden Byler)


Speaking our faith

Lent 1 (February 17, 2013)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

We spent much of this week finishing reports for the past year and plans for the coming year.  February 15 is one of two annual reporting deadlines for MCC partners and projects.  Everyone is happy when these deadlines are in the past!

A young Syrian boy with his grandfather at the Za'atari Refugee Camp (Reuters photo by Muhammad Hamed)

A  Syrian boy with his grandfather at Za’atari Refugee Camp (Reuters photo by Muhammad Hamed)

Cindy continues to teach Friday morning English classes at the Chaldean Catholic Church in Jabal Webdah.  Her students are Iraqi refugee children, living in Amman while waiting with their families for resettlement to third countries.  Daryl contributed an article about Syrian refugees in Jordan to the Thirdway Café this week.

Ten years ago this week, Daryl was in the second week of a 40-day fast during which he wrote daily letters to President Bush, urging him to consider alternatives to war with Iraq.

In the region this week:

Wafa Goussous with children at Za'atari Camp, where 2,750 pairs of children's boots were distributed, Feb. 5, using MCC funds

Wafa Goussous, director of the Orthodox Initiative,  with children at Za’atari Camp.  MCC purchased 2,750 pairs of children’s boots, which were distributed on Feb. 5.  (photo by Azmi al-Edwan)

The Common Lectionary readings this week are about speaking our faith – in good times and bad.

In the Old Testament reading – even while they are still wandering in the wilderness – Moses instructs the people that, when they enter the “Promised Land” and benefit from its bounty, they are to take some of the first fruits of the harvest to the priest and recount their story:

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous.  When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.  The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” (Deut. 26:5-10)

Books like these were purchased for children at the Zaatari Camp

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem purchased boots like these for children at the Zaatari Camp, using MCC funds (photo by Azmi al-Edwan)

In times of terror, trouble and destruction, the psalmist reminds us to call out to the Lord, saying, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” (Ps. 91:2)  The psalmist promises that God will send angels to guard, protect, deliver and rescue us (vv. 11-16).

In the Epistle reading Paul urges Christians living in the heart of the Roman Empire to “confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord.” (Rom. 10:9) By implication, the Roman emperor is not Lord.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” writes Paul (v.13).

The Gospel reading describes the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.  Three times Jesus resists the devil’s temptations to grandeur and greatness by reciting the Scriptures he knows to be true (Luke 3:4, 8, 12).

Our faith becomes powerful when we speak it aloud. It helps us remember our story and our identity.  And it helps us remember that it is God who saves and delivers us.