Middle East

World Refugee Day: The Shocking Life of a Christian Refugee Family in Jordan

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The sun was setting over the city of Amman when we arrived at our destination – a neighborhood that is now home to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Jordan.

The Islamic call to prayer could be heard throughout the countless mosques in the area as my translator and I made our way to the humble home of the Ibrahim family. The Ibrahims were once hard-working business owners and prominent members of their society near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Everything changed when ISIS attacked their hometown. The family fled with nothing but the clothing on their backs and have since then settled in a tiny apartment here in Jordan.

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As we entered their new temporary housing we were offered a comfortable seat. The house was cold and damp but the family offered smiles so warm that you could barely notice. “Coffee or Tea?’ asked Mrs. Ibrahim in her native Arabic language. Even though the family was scraping by, having visitors who had come to hear their stories was a very special occasion.

As I sipped I began to hear a story that I could practically recite from memory. It’s the same story of their refugee neighbors crammed into buildings on every side. “We are all from a small village north of Mosul in Iraq” she began to explain. “My husband manufactured leather goods and we made a good living. Our four children all did well in school, and we were so grateful for our lives in Iraq.”

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I looked around the room and I couldn’t help but imagine how drastic life had changed for this family. The tiny space couldn’t have been more than 400 square feet; yet with nothing to fill it, it felt massive. There were a few small chairs, a single burner stove, and a few mats to sleep on.

Perhaps what was most noticeable was the lack of food, clothing, and other necessities. In every refugee home I visited that week, I saw a similar set up; they lacked furniture, food, and slept on cheap mattresses or mats. In each house one thing always stood out, they all had a small old-fashioned television. I asked Mrs. Ibrahim why this was so important. Her answer surprised me, yet it made perfect sense: “It’s our only connection to know what is happening back at home,” she replied.

As I finish my cup of coffee in the home of the Ibrahim family, I begin to understand that finances are just one of the many struggles that this family faces. I glance across to their disabled son as they told his tragic story. At one point in time he had a bright future, but after coming into contact with explosives and debris, he now has both physical and mental disabilities.

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Outside the home, the oldest Ibrahim child, Frans, is playing with a soccer ball. As we were discussing their difficult situation, without warning, other children attacked him. They knocked him to the ground and beat him repeatedly. After the fight was broken up, I continued the conversation with the mother as she did her best to hold back tears.

Because their local neighborhood community knows that the Ibrahim’s are a Christian family and from Iraq, they are treated as outcasts in their neighborhood.

Even as we were speaking to the family, we experienced this hatred firsthand. I was sitting there at a loss for words; it was clear that the family was hanging on with nothing more than their hope of a brighter future and their foundation in Christ.

“We do the best we can with what we have, but without your help, we wouldn’t know where to turn. Your food packages, blankets and other supplies keep us alive and boost our spirits,” Mrs. Ibrahim explains through a translator. “The help we receive is what keeps us going,” she explained. “Without this we would not know where our next meal would come from.”

The sun has now gone down and the city lights have illuminated over Amman. We do our best to console and encourage the family. As I walk out the door and get into the car, it hits me that I’ll be headed home in a few short days. My time here is coming to an end but for everyone else, the future is a black hole of uncertainty.

The story of the Ibrahim family is a single snapshot of a much larger picture. There are 13.5 million people who share similar tales of tragedy. Education has been stalled for most refugee children, and even qualified doctors and engineers are unable to find meaningful work. They are simply waiting in limbo for a future that is not guaranteed.

Questions are often raised like “How did we get here?” “Why are our Muslims neighbors killing each other?” “What could have been done to prevent this?” And perhaps the most important question of all “What can we do to ensure that our children do not have to go through this again?”

 

Prayer and Support

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To stand with us in Jordan, please keep these families in your prayers. Click the “GIVE NOW” button to give a gift. 100% of each donation will go directly to support refugees. Help us meet immediate physical needs, and the most important need of a relationship with the Savior! On behalf of our Frontline Workers in Jordan, we thank you for your prayers and support at this pivotal time in history!

Please consider giving a gift below to help refugees like the Ibrahim family with life-saving aid today!

How important is the Bible to you?

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How important is the Bible to you?

Surveys show that 88% of homes in the US have at least one Bible in them. You can find one at the bedside of your hotel room, in any bookstore, and even on your phone! 

It may be hard to imagine a world where Bibles are scarce, but this is the reality in much of the Muslim world. Possessing a Bible in many Islamic countries is against the law, and in some cases punishable by imprisonment or worse. 

God's Word is dishonored in many ways, and often is burned by extremist groups! Because of this, believers hold tightly to their Bibles because they know that if it is lost to them, they may never get one again.

At our center in Lebanon, a congregation of former Muslim Syrian refugees meets every week to receive teaching in God's Word. At the end of a recent service, we asked them "What does the Word of God mean to you?"
 

"The Bible shows us the true God and it teaches us how we can know him. It shows us the true faith and a God who loves us" - Ahmed

"The Muslim leaders used to tell us that the Bible is corrupted. Now I know the truth and the power it has to change our lives!" - Said

"The Word of God has the highest influence in my life and it teaches me my purpose. I have become a new person through the Bible." - Farez
 

Right now, there is a need for Bibles all across the Muslim world. If God has touched your heart, would you please consider giving a gift of $5 or more, so that we can put new Bibles in the hands of Muslim converts?

Please also pray for these new believers, that they would read, understand, and grow in the knowledge of God's Word.

  • Please pray for believers in Northern Nigeria who face danger every day for their faith in Christ. In this area, the Bible's are confiscated and burned in the streets.
  • Please Pray for new believers in the Syrian Refugee camps. Pray for their safety as they read the Word among their Muslims neighbors.
  • Pray for understanding. As new Christians read God's Word, they often have many questions and long to know more. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would speak to them and that Frontline Workers would explain the Word clearly.

New Christians yearn for the truth, encouragement, and peace found in the Bible. Right now, you can help bring light into the darkness! 

Syrian Fighter Finds Peace in Jesus

Abed, a young Muslim man, stands in the center of a refugee camp in Jordan. As he looks around at the endless rows of makeshift tents that he and his neighbors now call home, he tries to recall how he got to this moment. 

Abed grew up as a Sunni Muslim. Like many others, he was taught he was doing his duty as a Muslim when he was fighting in the Syrian war. As the war raged on, he could never quite understand how two groups of Muslims (Sunni versus Shia) could be killing each other in the name of Allah. For the first time, he began to question what he had learned his whole life. As the war became more intense, Abed witnessed repeated attacks on women and children; and he knew he couldn’t participate in these terrible acts of violence. He laid down his weapons and fled to Jordan in search of answers. 

Since everything he had was destroyed in the war, Abed took shelter in a nearby mosque. When other Muslims realized that he was having doubts about Islam, he was thrown out. Alone and afraid, Abed's only option was to scavenge through the garbage to avoid starvation. One day, he heard that food and shelter were being offered at the Call of Hope Center in Jordan. 

Even though Abed originally came for physical help, he received that and something far more valuable. He was astonished to hear about a God who loved and cared for his people. Intrigued by this concept, he asked to talk with a Frontline Worker. 

Abed explained, “In Syria, they taught us how to fight, but you Christians taught me that Jesus has never carried a sword or did violence to anyone. He did the opposite, Jesus healed the sick and taught to love your enemies.” With tears in his eyes, he continued, “All my life I have had anxiety and questions, but now after hearing about Jesus, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of peace”. 

After talking and receiving counseling from the Bible, Abed came to embrace Jesus as his Savior and Lord.  Now, as he looks out into the refugee camps, he stands there on a mission to tell his refugee neighbors about the hope that he has found in Christ!

Frontline Workers earnestly ask for your prayers. Sign up below to become a prayer partner today!