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!