Monday, September 1, 2008
Anyway, Robin and I (mostly me) are looking forward to visiting the goats and see how they are doing. I might even check on the families and see if they are doing OK also. Enjoy the pictures of some of the goats and people who received them.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Where to start? So many things going on I really don’t know where to start. Time is rushing by so fast. I started writing this letter on the 15th and then again on the 22nd and now here it is the 29th. I’m determined to get something written today. All through the week we think of things we could share with you and then when it comes to writing it all down, my mind goes blank!
The last few weeks we have attended several ceremonies for the distribution of the Wheelchairs to the handicap and several more ceremonies for the distribution of the Humanitarian goods to the needy. It’s always humbling to be apart of that. But, the thing we enjoy the most, is going into the individual homes, meeting the families and getting to visit with the people. That’s the most rewarding part of our work…….Seeing lives change and hope given to those that have so little. We are blessed to represent all those that give to the humanitarian cause throughout the world and witness those that benefit from their giving.
Yesterday we were in Al Himma making another inspection of the water project. The temperature in the Jordan Valley was way up in the 100’s with lots of humidity. It never occurred to me that Jordan would have this much humidity! But it does! Jordan has such a variety of terrain and weather. It’s one of the things so intriguing about Jordan. The villages we are doing the water project in is within throwing distance of Israel. The Yarmouk River, which is very low at this time, is the border between Jordan and Israel in the north. On Israel’s side is a huge Banana tree Farm. It’s an impressive site. The contrast of green against the brown barren mountains is shocking! It is a perfect rectangle shape on the side of the mountain that you can see for miles and miles as you come over the opposite mountains into the valley. We have been spending a lot of time trying to get this project up and running. It’s finally starting to come together and should be completed within the month! So many obstacles along the way! So many things out of our control! Who would have thought this would have taken this long? Not us! But we have been told by the water specialists that water projects usually take over a year and more. But, you know how dad is? When he starts something he is determine to get it done! We have learned so much about things that we would have never expected to be involved with.
Last Saturday we had another Humanitarian Container come into Jordan. We distributed this one to the villages near the Dead Sea. It was so hot! We had to wait 4 hours for the truck to get there. The truck broke down on the way up from Aqaba. What are we going to do with these truck drivers? It’s always something! But after the truck finally got there we unloaded the whole thing in 2 hours. Our record! Everyone was great! This was the best container yet! Every society working together…. helping each other load their individual trucks to take to their communities to distribute.
We are approaching Ramadan. Starting Monday the Muslims have a 30 day fast which is called Ramadan. They fast each day between sunrise and sunset. During the night they feast and celebrate with their families and friends. I remember last year right after we got here it was Ramadan. No body is allowed to eat in public even if you aren’t Muslim. We heard of several incidents last year of people being put in jail because of being seen eating in public. Everything slows down during this time because most people are home sleeping during the day until it is time to break their fast which they call “breakfast.” All through the night there will be big celebrations in the streets with shouting, loud music and lots and lots of food! Oh well! We are getting use to all the celebrating that goes on around here! We just turn our fan on high, close the windows and sleep with a pillow over our head instead of under.
We pray that all is well with you. We enjoy hearing from you and appreciate getting news from home. It’s nice to feel somewhat connected!
Thank you for you prayers and the support we feel from you. We have been blessed and we have been stretched!
I like this quote.....
“To get you from where you are to where the Lord wants you to be
Requires a lot of stretching ……and that generally entails some
discomfort and pain” Elder Richard G. Scott
We love you!
Love, Your Jordan Missionaries
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Another week already! Where does the time go? We just got back from a ceremony in a community call Manda. We were invited as special guests. It’s always interesting to go and see what happens. We were escorted by some of the local police. In truth, we had bodyguards! I ask….do we need protection? I think it was more a gesture of honor. We love these people!
We have been without water for 2 days now. Normally we get water delivered one day a week. It is pumped to the roof and stored in metal tanks. But with the water shortage we haven’t gotten water in 3 weeks. It’s becoming a real concern through out Jordan. We hope we get some soon. We have several 5 gallon jugs of water stored for this very reason. Thank goodness for listening to the Prophets! We have been really pushing to get the Water Project done this month. Not only for the water purification aspect of it, but the project will include several large water storage tanks that will be a major benefit to the people.
It’s late! And I’m tired……didn’t get much sleep last night. There was a loud wedding street party going on last night, or should I say into the early morning hours. All the normal celebrating!
We love and appreciate you all. Thank you for the support and love we feel from all of you.
Your Jordan Missionaries
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Our Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been one of those weeks that kept us in a whirl wind. We just have to remind ourselves to laugh sometimes! We have come to expect the unexpected, but even when we prepare ourselves for that…… we still are surprised! How do we even begin to describe some of our experiences? I’ll try to give one example…… One of our projects is a Water Project in the very northern tip of Jordan, a very poor area with no clean drinking water available accept bottled water brought in from one of the larger cities an hour away. A real problem! We have been working on this project since October of 2007. Between the research we did, consulting World Water Experts, piles of legal paper work, Lawyers in 3 countries, Banks in 4 countries, the Jordanian Government, LDS Charity officials, Church Leaders, local Municipality, local contractors, the list goes on. We now have the green light to start! Send the money! We wait! And wait! But where is the money? NO MONEY? Somewhere between Salt Lake City, New York City, Frankfort Germany, London England, and Jordan, the money is lost! No one can tell us… or will tell us what has happened to it. With substantial sums of money being transferred from the USA going to a Middle East country apparently gets everyones attention! I mean a lot of attention! It’s probably accurate to say our names are on several agencies lists. After numerous international phone calls, emails and visit with the USA Embassy the money suddenly shows up almost a month later. We ask no questions. So, late last night we drive to Al Himma to finalize the contract with the money now available. Hooray!!!! So, that’s the condensed version!
We were able to finish up two other projects this week that we have been working on for a few months. Another Hooray!!!
- Audiometer machine for testing the deaf and Sound Room Project for CBRC (Community Based Rehabilitation Center). We are very excited at how that turned out. We had some “opportunities” bringing the Audiometers into the country, but with the help of good people, knowing the right things and the right people, we now have it at the Center ready to train the technicians and start the testing process for the people of North Jordan.
- The Princess Basima Leadership Training at JUST University. Yesterday we finished up our week at Jordan University of Science and Technology It has been a wonderful uplifting experience to interact with these young people.
Another adventure this week …. Back and forth to Amman dealing with Customs concerning another project. But, that’s a story for another time. We really are grateful for all we have been able to do and learn. It truly is amazing how the Lord qualifies us for His work. We often have to remind ourselves to remember the words of Thomas S. Monson.
“Don’t pray for the task equal to your abilities
Your Jordan Missionaries
Weekly newsletter - page 1
Weekly newsletter - page 2
Weekly newsletter - page 3
Friday, July 18, 2008
I was sitting down to write some of our experiences this week. I haven’t been very good over the last few months about just writing. So I thought I’d send some of our journal summary entries. It’s not about projects. Mostly about people and events.
After church (Friday is the Sabbath in Jordan) we decided to visit some of the members. We didn’t have a very good turnout at church and perhaps part of the reason was that it has been around 100 degrees over the last few days. Weather here is often a big factor in getting the people to attend. If it’s too cold and windy they don’t come….if it’s too hot they don’t come. But it is that way with other things. I’m always a little surprised with this attitude. But, I have to remember that it’s part of their thinking and culture. We visited with Samoor and Hooda Tashman family right after church. They invited us for dinner along with the BYU students. I made a good American moist chocolate cake. The Jordanians love chocolate. But, of course who doesn’t? When we are invited for a meal, it’s always a huge feast! They keep piling the food on your plate. If you eat it too quickly they pile more on. If you don’t eat it fast enough they ask why you don’t eat and bring you something else. The people are so gracious. The Tashmans have declared us “family” and we love being with them! We laugh a lot and seem to understand each other even with the language barrier. Ibrahim, one of the sons who recently returned from a mission in Africa, speaks good English so he helps interprets for us when he is there.
We had some disappointing news came up in one of our conversation with one of the members. For the last 4-5 months we had a woman named Amill come to church with her 3 children. The last few weeks they have stopped coming. The children have loved coming to primary and have been wonderful to teach. Very sweet children! In fact, there were a few times that she couldn’t come but the children came anyway, I was a little surprise at that. When I asked Ban if she knew why they weren’t coming any more? She said….. “Oh, sister this is not good! She is a spy.” She goes on to say that she was sent from one of the other three Christian churches in our village to get names of everyone who was coming and find out what we do. I guess she was secretly taking pictures with her camera phone and taking the handouts that we had made for the primary children back to their leaders. So, apparently they are trying to start up a program like primary in their church. The interesting thing about this whole situations is that they preached very heavily against the Mormons, which has caused some problems for some of our members, and then at the same time want to copy some of our programs and activities. In any event, my heart sunk! I love the children and feel disappointed they won’t be coming any more. Who knows, maybe they felt something and some day other avenues will open up for them. We won’t give up on them! Our greatest persecutions come from other Christians not the Muslims. Jordan has a council of Religious leaders that determines what other religions will be accepted in Jordan. Jordan is made up of 95% Muslims with only 3 % Christians and the other 2% other religions. The Christian on this council are against other churches being established in Jordan. There are basically only 3 Christian religions acknowledge in Jordan, the Catholics, Baptist and Greek Orthodox. We exist only under the Center for Cultural and Educational Affairs and LDS Charities. We are in the process of trying to buy a building for the Center, which will be a big step for the Church to own property in Jordan. There have been some obstacles with some legal and Governmental issues but hopefully that will be resolved soon.
A few Fridays ago a young man showed up at church. He is 25 and has been a member for almost 10 years. Ibramhim, our young return missionary, saw him in town earlier that week and invited him to come to church. He DID! We spent several hours talking with him in English. He speaks very well and was excited to use his English. We were very impressed with him. We exchanged phone numbers and he invited us to go to his house to meet his mother and brothers. So, on our evening walk we walked over and had a wonderful visit with his family. This young man had a large envelope in his hands and started pulling out what appeared to be treasured items. He carefully unfolds his baptism and priesthood ordination certificates along with some other papers that he obviously valued, then, he reveals a CD of hymns and asked if we would like him to play it. At this point he begins to share part of his story. He is now serving in the Royal Guard as one of the security guards for the King and the Royal family, which is one of the greatest honors that a young man in the military can receive. I can see why he was chosen. He stands tall with a confidence that is striking, but not arrogant. His overall demeanor is impressive in the fact that he is pleasantly good looking, but approachable, and at the same time leaves you to wonder…. that, there is much more to this young man than meets the eye. It’s a challenge for him to be allowed to come to church because of serving in the Military. Our Branch President was also in the military and several years before he was to retire he was ordered not to attend church or he would be dismissed with a dishonorable discharge and a disgrace to his country and family. So for 2 years he could not attend church. We are so blessed to have the freedoms we enjoy in the States.
A week of events.
· Witnessing a Muslim wedding celebration. One of our members, Virginia, is an American married to a Muslim. Her children are all raised Muslims, which is the law under the Islamic order. Her oldest daughter married 6 months ago but was not considered legally married until the wedding celebration. In the Arab culture the Groom pays for all the wedding. Including getting the brides make up and hair done. The bride is then made up in a full elaborate gown. She is dusted with a white glitter all over her body. During the week of various celebrations men and women are separated. At the final celebration it’s just the woman invited in with the groom and bride, where they sit on a special throne following the wedding march and ceremony. Men wait outside or in a waiting room because the bride is not covered. She is dressed in her wedding gown and only other women and the groom can see her uncovered. The grooms mother and sisters are all dressed in gowns because he is family and they can unveil in front of him. There is music, dancing, chanting, clapping and much celebrating among the women. Outside, the men the same kind of celebrating but add some fireworks, gun shooting and some fighting! This, I’m told! I wished I could have taken pictures, but it is forbidden because of the uncovered women.
· Birth of a baby girl Taakwa. Last Saturday we were working with one of our projects and we get a call from Wigdan, a good friend that is ready to have a baby. She needs a ride to the hospital. She has had 3 of her other children at home, but was having some problems with this one. This is her 6th child. So we left our project and picked her and her husband up and took them to the hospital. She gets examined and told that she will have to be cut. So she tells us to take her husband home and asks if we can cone back tomorrow. We didn’t really know what was going on because of the language barrier. So before we knew it we were driving Abitarik home and leaving her there by herself to go through the birthing without anyone. I cried most of the way home. Just a different culture? We get a phone call at 7 the next morning telling us she had a baby girl and if we could pick up Abitarik and bring him back to the hospital. We do, and when we get at the hospital she is ready to go home. So we load up the cute little bundle and mom, along with the proud dad and take them home. It was a very tender time. I couldn’t help but think of my own grandchildren that have been born since we have been gone. I guess the Lord blessed us with this experience to help us feel not so left out.
This week has had its ups and downs. We have had some set backs with the water project and Audiometer project. But, it’s not an adventure ….unless you have the unexpected. That’s the thrill of the adventure, uh? Oh, and we are having a thrilling adventure! We are blessed in so many ways, and growing in so many. Would we have ever thought we would be here in Jordan? Doing what we are doing? Meeting the people we are meeting? Our lives have certainly been in enriched! We are grateful that we have been willing to take this step and trust the Lord. We dare not to think of what we would have missed…… if we had not taken the step into the unknown and have the thrill of the adventure.
We love you all. We miss you all. Thank you for the support and prayers.
Dad and Mom ....Your Jordan Missionaries.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
MarHaBa….Keef Hal Leek
This has been a hard newsletter to get off. We have had some wonderful experiences this month along with some very heart wrenching experiences. Sometimes it is so hard to “get on with normal life” when experiences change you! We ask ourselves so often “Why have we been so blessed with so much?” More about that later! To start off …. We had a wonderful zone Conference in Egypt the beginning of the month (see the attachments). When we got back… it was “Catch up”. We have been finishing up some projects and starting others (more on the projects next time). We received a call from the Irbid Director of Social Development wanting to meet with us again. Mr. Ahmad Ishmarat had recently met with the Jordan’s Minister of Social Development, Hala Latoof. Now, you must know that this level of government controls all our comings and goings within the country of Jordan concerning Humanitarian efforts. So, we have been praying and working hard on developing good relationships with the Ministries. The new Minister is a woman and has just recently got back from the USA where arrangements had been made for her to attend BYU’s Women’s Conference and tour Welfare Square in Salt Lake. She was given several opportunities to dine with different church leaders. She has come back excited and educated with a different outlook of LDS Charities. She never imagined how big and world wide our efforts reach. We will be meeting with them in the next week and discussing several new programs that will involve the efforts of LDS Charities and the Jordan Government. It’s exciting to see the work move forward and opportunities open up. We often stand in amazement!
We have been meeting with many communities and their leaders in the northern part of Jordan over the last month. We have had a few very emotional experiences trying to help make changes for the welfare of these people. One, I will share, but will not go into much details, is a man of 68. We were taken to his place of existence, because that is all you could call it. He was lying on the ground in the cave-like shelter with nothing over him but a filthy shredded blanket with flies swarming around his lifeless body. His boney face was covered by tangled matted hair. The smell was horrific! He had evidently experienced a stroke and his family had just thrown him away, so to speak! In this culture one does not step into tribal or family affairs. But in this situation many of the community leaders had been secretively notified and they took us with them because they think we have “wasta” (someone who has pull and power) and no one would question us. What an emotional experience! Well, this man’s life has changed… from being at the bottom of life to having some hope and purpose to his life. I can’t begin to even describe the feelings, the time and emotion that this situation as brought us through. And this is only one person of so many, not only in Jordan, but throughout the world.
We are sending the attached newsletter with some reluctance because of the experiences that have followed our trip to Cairo. We feel so blessed, and feel so much gratitude for the opportunities that have changed our lives and hopefully have changed others.
We pray for you all. “ MaSaLaama”
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
It's been a busy week. We are just getting over bing sick. A little food poisoning. NO Fun! But we are better now. Just in time to go to Egypt. We will be gone the whole week with training and some sight seeing. Fun Huh? Hope you all are well. We sure love you and constantly pray for you! We will report to you all when we get back to Jordan.
Dad and Mom
This weeks newsletter- page 1
This weeks newsletter- page 2