Best Thanksgiving Ever Ministering to Iraqi Refugees

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We walked through a rough unpaved road on the way to our first visit to invite Iraqi refugees to attend Not Guilty’s four-day training to children, parents, young men, young women and caregivers. We divided ourselves into three teams. Marka, where we were staying, is a very poor area of Jordan where most of the Iraqi refugees live. Although it was quite cold (40 degrees), yet we had no hot water and had to depend on wipes for showers.
Each visit we went to, as we left that house, the people we were visiting came with us to the next house. By the time we finished the fourth visit, we were about 30 people walking together.
The first family we visited is a family of five living in a one bedroom apartment. As we entered there were stray cats at their doorstep eating the garbage strewn on the road.
The head of the family was kidnapped by ISIS three times and escaped. He realized he had to flee with his family. When you visit Iraqi families, they serve you sugarless coffee. We learned that in the Iraqi culture if they serve you coffee with sugar, it means they want you to leave.
Our team of eight people visited 14 homes in one evening. Some homes were three floors underground with no windows, no oxygen and a lot of humidity. Yet, in spite of losing literally everything to flee for their lives, they were very hospitable.
The next day, 100 kids showed up at The Good Shepherd school to attend the fun day we had prepared for them.
Because of your generosity, we were also able to buy a training suit for every one of those one hundred kids.
Four stations were prepared to teach children about boundaries, good touch bad touch, feelings, anger management, and anti-sexual abuse.
I think we had more fun than the kids themselves.
What amazed us was the dignity and self-control those kids exhibited. While coloring during the boundaries station, each kid put the crayons back into its box and returned it to us. Not one asked to take the crayons home. “You can continue coloring at home if you have not finished here,” I told the kids. Their answer was, “We have no crayons at home”.
Then came the time for lunch. You could tell how poor those kids were from looking at their lunch. Some had a piece of dry bread, others had 2 Digestive biscuits. Yet, they all stopped to pray before their meal, thanking God for their food.
We all felt ashamed: oh how we grumble and complain about much less than the plight of those little ones. The dignity and contentment we saw on those kids’ faces put our lives into perspective.
It is when we get out of ourselves in ministry that we see the world as it really is.
I want to thank everyone who supported us to make this trip possible. Your presence was palpable. The thanks of those refugee kids as they each got a new training suit and a coloring book with crayons would have made you laugh and cry both at the same time.
You can watch a small video here of part of the trip.
If you have not joined us on this trip, you can join us on our next one.
You can make a difference as long as you have breath.

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