Traumatized from violence in northern Iraq, Ayesha* was weak with an unknown illness after she and her young children took refuge in Jordan.
Her Muslim husband had taken up residence in Baghdad after the destruction of their home and belongings. His mother knew that Ayesha was receiving help from Christians in Jordan and pressured him to bring the children to Baghdad so they could grow up close to their Islamic roots, according to the director of a native ministry.
Ayesha’s mother belonged to a devout Muslim sect, and her late father had been Zoroastrian. His passing away as the Islamic State took territory in Iraq had devastated her. He had been the most important person to her growing up, giving her love, guidance and self-confidence in spite of the cultural restrictions imposed on girls. She recalled him as spiritually open and loving all people.
He had been accomplished in business, and Ayesha too had excelled in positions with different companies after obtaining her degree in agricultural engineering, the ministry leader said.
Now living in a run-down apartment as a refugee, her father’s passing was still fresh in her mind. Ayesha was grateful for the aid and skills training the native ministry’s sewing trainer provided as she told Ayesha about the God of the Bible.
“In the midst of her weakness, her will was connected to the great confidence that God has a plan for her life,” the sewing trainer said. “She had been looking for years to know which way? Why? And when?”
She was looking for inner peace as she learned sewing skills from the ministry’s sewing instructor.
“She asked me a lot of questions about the cross and the story of eternal salvation by the blood of Christ and His sacrifice, in addition to a lot of subjects from Adam to Christ,” the trainer said.
Ayesha joined a women’s Bible study that the trainer was leading, and her passion and commitment to the Bible was evident, she said.
But then Ayesha stopped attending for a long time. When the trainer would call her, she’d say alternately that she had to care for the children, or help them with their studies, or that they were sick, or that she was sick.
The trainer maintained contact by text message.
She later learned that Ayesha’s mother-in-law had twice visited her from Iraq, her sister had visited her from Sweden and her husband had visited from Baghdad for an extended period.
She had secretly put her faith in Christ but couldn’t let them know yet, the trainer said.
“Changes appeared in her lifestyle because she had put all her confidence in God the Father; He was her Heavenly Father, who was even greater than her earthly father,” she said. “She fasted in the month of Ramadan with them, fearing that she would be caught. She lived in terror of the discovery of her faith and of her participation in church.”
Ayesha’s mother and sister eventually found out about her church activity and asked why she was attending Christian worship services. She told them the same thing she had told her husband when he noticed the Bible and children’s Christian literature in her apartment: The church cared for them.
After they left, Ayesha resumed her church participation, and she is establishing herself in her adopted country.
“She gained a lot of professional and technical experience from me in the art of design and in dressmaking, and her sewing is smart and clever,” the trainer said.
Point of No Return
Many Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Jordan feel they have nothing to go back to since the border re-opened in 2018 for their return.
Some 1.4 million refugees made their way to Jordan – a country of 10 million – since conflict broke out in Syria in 2011, and more than 1 million remain. With fighting continuing in parts of Syria and property destroyed or appropriated by others, many refugees hope to head for Europe.
Refugees such as Ayesha arrive having suffered deep loss – husbands, brothers and sons killed in war, traumatized parents succumbing to illnesses due to lack of treatment, houses in ruins from bombings. Native missionaries in Jordan provide not only basic survival aid but services that address specific needs such as prenatal education for pregnant women.
Skills training helps women and other refugees rebuild their lives, wherever their ultimate destination. The church-based native ministry has helped many with its handicrafts and sewing training.
“Through my work in sewing, I have been designing different styles and selling them in order to pay the rent of our apartment,” another refugee said. “I have a great responsibility even though I am still a young girl. My teacher in the sewing department taught me much and explained to me about the Bible. There are verses of the Bible that touch my heart and help me understand more. I want to share the verses through which I and my family pray.”
Native missionaries are serving such refugees throughout Jordan. Please consider a donation today to help them show the love of Christ to hurting people.
*Name changed for security reasons