Building Miracles in the Deserts of the Middle East
July 13, 2017
An Egyptian seminary graduate was recently told that it would be impossible to get land to build a shelter for seniors and orphaned or needy children. An orphan himself, Habib Ayad went forward in faith – for the second time, having already lost a previous property to fraud.
Ayad had obtained much of the funding for that lost land from relatives. The dream of a shelter that he had nursed for 20 years turned to dust when another party finagled the land from him and, while he was obtaining his theology degrees at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS), government officials took control of it. His vision, however, remained intact.
"He talked about this vision all through his study years, but it seemed an impossible vision," said a JETS administrator who asked to remain unnamed. "Habib did not have property or the finances. He knew that, to fulfill the vision, he needed to save money and have more biblical knowledge in order to reach the children and the elderly with the good news."
After graduating with a master's degree in 2014, Ayad remained in Jordan for a year, plying his trade as a plumber and ministering to Egyptian immigrants. He and his wife and children then returned to the Samalut area in Upper Egypt.
"My greatest challenge was that one of the pastors in Egypt told me that it will be impossible to buy and build a shelter," he said. "This pastor forgot that I have a living God, whom I put my trust and faith in to complete the shelter."
"Studying at JETS helped Habib to be strong and stand steadfast in facing any challenge while fulfilling this vision and calling," the administrator said.
He had enough savings to buy a smaller lot, about half the size of the nearly four acres he had lost. Now he has no income even as he oversees a construction crew in pursuit of his vision; the building and his unpaid pastoral duties occupy all his time. In any event, status-conscious locals view as "a disgrace" a pastor who would support his highly esteemed vocation with a lowly regarded trade such as plumbing, the administrator said.
Ayad learned to trust God for day-to-day needs early in his ministry. After first coming to Jordan at age 19 to find work in the mid-1990s, by 2005 he was becoming increasingly devoted to ministering to impoverished immigrants from Egypt. Having married in 2004 and begun a family, he was troubled as the yearning to serve the immigrants butted up against the need to provide for his wife and child.
His faith – and that of his wife – led him to study theology, and in 2007 he enrolled at JETS to confirm his vocation.
"He felt the Lord's hand leading him and shepherding him," the administrator said. "He lived for the Lord and trusted Him to fulfill all of his spiritual, financial and physical needs."
He helped lead prayer and worship among Egyptian immigrants in Jordan within church walls, and outside of them he gave encouragement and aid as JETS helped him develop a deeper foundation for his ministry. Ayad began to place his gifts, such as his compassion for people's detailed cares and concerns, within a broader spiritual vision.
"While studying at JETS, Habib discovered his spiritual calling to humanitarian ministry, which confirmed the vision of caring for orphans and elders that he already had," the administrator said. "This helped him to be strong and stand steadfast in facing any challenge while fulfilling this vision and calling."
While Ayad struggles to pay his workers and provide them meals at the work site, crews have already built the basic structure of four apartments, each still needing installation of electricity, plumbing and tiles. He plans to put six people in each apartment. Besides being short of funds to complete the units, he lacks a car, hampering his ability to get things done timely.
His studies at JETS fortified the faith and grit that sustain him, just as the seminary has equipped graduates since 1995 to serve in 19 countries as evangelists, pastors, youth leaders, women's ministry leaders, children's ministry leaders and other areas of church and parachurch service. JETS graduates pastor more than half of the 60 evangelical churches in Jordan.
Like Ayad, JETS student Felimoun Barsoum is from an area in Upper Egypt's Minya Governorate. He said he has seen JETS change the lives of many graduates who live in his village.
"Studying at JETS will give me experience, knowledge and depth in the different biblical subjects, and it will increase my knowledge so I can teach and train others," he said. "My plan is to serve the Lord in the Arab countries, caring for the Lord's people in deprived areas. I am already praying to see where the Lord wants me to serve Him."
Ayad, meantime, is working to raise funds in order to finish at least the first four apartments.
"If he gets the funds, it will be ready in less than six months," the administrator said. "At this time, he has some elderly persons waiting to move in to the shelter."
Donors to Christian Aid Mission have helped JETS students fulfill their ministry vision, and your support would enable Ayad and current students to multiply kingdom impact in Middle Eastern countries. Please consider helping to fulfill the vision of those who are studying and serving by faith.