Many of you thought it was a crazy idea, me going to Jordan. Well, according to a very successful entrapenuer in Jordan, crazy ideas are the only ones that work. My heart and my mind are being stretched, my beliefs are being affirmed as well as challenged, and my body is being stuffed full of delicious hummus, falafel, and shawerma. We have heard from five speakers over the past three days, and each has been a challenge on an intellectual and spiritual level.
I will send (to those who wish to see it) an article I sent off to a few magazines to publish about a pastor, who leads the only Jesus-following church in the Gaza Strip. We also spoke to another who coordinates aid for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in the camps surrounding Amman, as well as providing a free medical clinic for those families as well.
In the education sector, Dr. Nasi Hamdi has been a pioneering researcher in counseling psychology. Jordan, as well as much of the Middle East is a culture built around honor and ‘saving face’. Because of this dynamic, there were only 3…yes three psychologists in all of Jordan in the late 70’s / early 80’s. Now there are hundreds and counseling psych degrees offered at the BA, MA, and PhD level. Counselors are being taught to integrate spirituality; Islam, as well as Christianity believes that we are holistic beings created in the image of God – therefore we cannot treat only the mind, body, or spirit alone, but must bring them all together. This type of leadership training is spreading throughout Jordan and the Middle East.
Like I said before, I believe music is a bridge between heaven and earth. Two western-educated, forward-thinking businessmen, Hatem and Shakur have stepped out of the tradition-steeped mold of Jordan. Because the country has tribal roots, no oil, no water, and virtually no natural resources, Jordan has basically created itself out of the dust. ‘A place is only as good as its people,’ said Shakur. Jordan is the medical and educational hub of the Middle East; the previous King Hussein and current King Abdullah have worked innovation into Jordanian society by promoting change and relationships with the world. Hatem and Shakur believe everyone is capable of this: by empowering people at grassroots levels, we are capable of anything – unstoppable.
The group and I continue to build amazing relationships with our East West Initiatives friends. I have learned so much about myself and my own faith, Islam and my friends beliefs, how to relate to another culture, as well as another deeper way to love. ‘We were created for greater things…to love and be loved…’ (Mother Theresa) I said Jordan took my hand; this remains true, but it has also caused me to search my own heart and desire to see change in the hearts of others. We have common ground – please seek to find it. Believe what you know in your heart to be true, but do not pass judgement, do not assume what you have not experienced, and above all, love.
A side note of activities includes
more coffee and tea
exploring/shopping in east Amman
multiple expat conversations
sitting in traffic
ran once…no time otherwise, must sleep!
soccer game w. EWI!…sooo sore.
(but apparently my skills greatly improve overseas, kayla you would be proud!)