Cost of Trip: $3500
Location: Mafraq, Jordan
I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve gotten back from Jordan. Seems like it was a long time ago and at the same time I feel like I just said goodbye to the many new friends I’ve made. I may be in America but my mind and heart are still in Mafraq. I can’t shake the feeling I still need to be there, maybe God has more planned for me in the future. I have been more than blessed and thankful for the opportunity to serve God and the people of Mafraq. My team and I joined alongside a team from China as well as another American team to partner with ELIC and a local church to show Syrian refugees the love of Christ through teaching English.
Now I have only taught English to kids on one other occasion. For the most part they had a decent grasp and could communicate. This was a totally different ball game. For some of the kids it was there first time in a class room setting. So behavior and rules were largely unknown and if you could imagine, think of 35 kids ages from 11-13, rowdy and restless cramped sometimes in small rooms. We were there to prepare them for formal schooling after the summer ended and teach them as much as we could in three weeks of school. We were split into two locations – one was at the local church teaching a lot of kids from the streets and kids from families close by. The second location was at the actual school run by this same church but farther away. The kids in this area would most likely be coming back for the regular school year starting in the fall. My time was split between these two locations but I ended up at the school location for a majority of it. My class was split with 20 boys and 15 girls. I had one co-teacher and one translator. A lot of my job in the beginning was classroom management and hopefully instilling a set of rules they could agree to and follow. They were loud, wouldn’t listen, and would fight with each other but, wow, were they smart kids. When you could get them to do an activity they would be very absorbent of the information given. These of course were some of my happiest times as a teacher. It was definitely a challenge and I thank God for pushing me outside of my comfort zone.
These kids came from all types of scenarios and reasons but the obvious one is they are all in that classroom with me because they needed to escape the war in Syria. Learning English would help them transition to other countries like the USA or Canada. I had kids in my classroom with scars, burn marks, and trauma. I’m not a Psychologist I have no degree and I certainly don’t know how to help them in that way. What I do know is that I can love them. I can be intentional in the classroom, go up and down on the slide until I faint, I can look them in the eye and tell them how much I care for them. It sounds easy on paper but it was one of the hardest things I have ever done maybe the hardest thing I have ever done. I wanted to see and feel through Gods eyes. So I prayed that prayer for several days in a row. I know I would not be able to handle what God feels but I do think God gave me a taste of what he sees. I saw the pure joy on these kids’ faces running around and playing with their friends. Care free and peaceful, just regular kids. I also saw the utter brokenness and pain that you’d see in kids eyes when they sit down and try to tell you about home and wishing they could go back. A brokenness that can’t really be explained. Honestly for a lot of that trip I was depressed, somedays I’d be sitting on the playground watching the kids and couldn’t help but cry. I was mourning for their losses and the pain and suffering they had to endure as just kids. The amount of death they know is too much for one lifetime. I couldn’t relate with them. I wanted to do more, I want to help but not only that I wanted to fix it. I knew that I would never be able to. God put me there in that classroom with those kids to teach them English with the love of Christ. I pray that those receiving refugees in their countries would receive them not as a statistic of fear but with the love Christ.