Because of the political and social unrest in the countries where we were to go in 2009, our trip was changed to Amman, Jordan. We arrived at Teen Mania on Sunday, June 14, with our destination still tentative. There had been elections on the previous Friday that were being protested, (where we were supposed to go) and there was a lot of uncertainty about the safety of our group. The airlines were unwilling to allow us to change our tickets until Monday night. Then, with God in control, the trip miraculously came together. Why are we always surprised when God moves? We believe that He had plans for us to be in Jordan all along. Maybe he just wanted those that were willing to step out in faith for this very different trip.
We prayer-walked all the areas we visited in Amman. (for more information on prayer walks, check here.) This is a restrictive society, but not as much as the countries we had originally planned to go to. We were free to talk to people, just not actively try to convert. We carried English/Arabic Bibles for anyone that expressed a desire. We were not allowed to offer first, though. We were able to assist a local church with their established ministries, which included AWANA. What fun to help with Sparks! Our in-country contact was from Texas, so we had a lot in common. He sure did wish for a Chicken Express meal! Funny the things we miss. While there, de divided up into groups of 3, and spent each day going into the city and markets, speaking with the local people about their lives.
My team and I visited a local mosque one day. We were in the section reserved for women, looking at the beautiful architecture, when a young lady came up and asked if we were Americans. She had many questions for us about schools, friends, and life in general here. Then, as we were seated and talking, she asked if we were Christians. We all assured her we were. She asked if we had a Bible, because she wanted answers to things she had heard. With God's hand over us, we replied, "of course we have Bibles". Without any thought, I pulled mine out of my backpack, and opened it up. She had many questions about the Bible. She also had two friends with her. One spoke a little English, the other didn't speak English at all, so there was a constant stream of translations going on. Our little group sat a talked for over two hours! At the end of that time, we exchanged contact information. We left there and headed back to the church we were staying at, not really realizing what had just happened. Later that day, while sharing with the other groups about our day, a hush just fell over everyone. As we contemplated the sequence of events, our in-country leader told us that what just happened could have gotten us unto more trouble than he could get us out of. We all sent up a prayer of thanksgiving for our safety, but were told "don't do that again!"
We stayed overnight on the way to Jordan and back in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was an interesting place. We visited some traditional markets, also known as the souks. In the midst of this treasure trove of 20th century materialism, were small booth-type shops where the traditional goods of the east can still be weighed and measured. Spices brought in by dhow from India, Sri Lanka and Zanzibar filled the air, and perfumed oils were stored ready to be mixed to personal demands. From there, we visited a local mall unlike any I've ever seen.The Mall of the Emirates boasted almost 500 stores, and an indoor ski resort! Just the opposite of the outdoor markets.
Ministering to one of the largest agnostic populations in Europe, I will be going to Germany and Czech Republic. Based out of Dresden and Prague. Working with Mission Live Camp in both of these countries to reach out to the desperate youth of these nations who are searching for Truth. I will be ministering with the local church and youth groups through youth outreach festivals, and will touch the lives of inner-city young people through street evangelism, drama and personal evangelism.