After walking 2 miles in the snow, up-hill both ways, I finally found Wifi! Just kidding, my continual apologies for such few blogs.

Jon and I just stepped off the bus back to the big city. Our time with the medical facility was illuminating. We got to serve refugees and local Arabs for the past 3 weeks. I am thrilled to have been part of such work, my only frustration is the lack of time we have to be with them. 3 more days in the Middle East.

I couldn’t write enough about the lessons and concepts I have learned on this trip. One that sincerely has gripped me is prayer. Prayer that is leading me to action and a better understanding for how much God loves Arabs. There is extreme need in this region for refugees, church, civil conflict, ect. Lets pursue Gods love for all nations. Join me in prayer. Join me in further understanding how we can be lead to appropriate and loving action in the Middle East!

I do not prefer to write to you all with plastic key and Wifi. Can’t wait to see many of you soon!



Matching T’s and Name Tags

Whats fun? Getting to hangout with 50 9th grade boys this week.

Jon and I got an unexpected call from a youth program that needed volunteers in another city. The day after the call, we got a ride into town and took a bus to the camp.

During the week, we worked with an NGO which teaches English, values, and out door pursuits. It was really interesting to work with local teachers and administrators-got to learn more about the education system here.

Education in this country is tough. It seams everyone who works in education, no matter what geographical context, says the same and will give their speech on how it should be fixed. I don’t have answers but here were the thoughts from this weeks teachers from a region in the Middle East.

“The problem with our teachers is they spend all day on their $#%*! phones and Facebook while they allow kids to have recess all day.” – Says a women working in public education over 20 years.

“My thing is the structure. They don’t allow women teachers to teach boys and they have different classes for the girls-so when boys come out of school they have no idea on how to act with women and how to respect them. -40 year old Arab ESL teacher.

These statements were jarring. Our 9th grade boys didn’t know how to color in between the lines when we were doing a map. No teacher had ever taken the time to teach them. This was pretty shocking that these bright kids who were eager to learn don’t have access to quality education despite the fact that they can attend school.

It was cool to see what this NGO is doing to empower and train local teachers and provide quality education to kids who want it. Glad to be part of it for a week. Going to miss them.

We catch a bus back in the morning. The rest of our time will be at the medical facility and than back to the states.

Please continue to pray for our trip, the people we meet, and future plans.

Thanks always for doing this with me! I have much joy knowing the work we are doing is part of Gods plan to win the hearts of all nations. Can’t wait to see you in person!


Dinar for Yogurt.


“Dinarayn!”, the shop keeper at the market repeated loudly, as he thrust his hand open towards me. He peered at me through his silver circular glasses-with a look of confusion and frustration-as if I was from another world. The dark creases between his wrinkly face and his wooden cane told me that he was an old man and had no time or desire to argue with me. I looked down at the faded brass and gold coins in my hand, realizing there was not enough, and I walked out of his shop with no yogurt.

Jon and I have been sent to another region in the Middle East further from bigger cities. My friendships with market boys and groceries will start again here. In our new area and surrounding region there is more tribes.

Tribalism in our region looks something like this: Your family is the closest relationship you have. Families compose clans which consist of your extended family. Clans compose a tribe which could consist of over 1,000 members.

In a tribe, often leaders will know the names of every individual in their tribe and the most important value to the tribe, clan, and families is honor. To bring any shame to yourself is to bring dishonor to your family. Often families will publicly punish one of there own to rid the family name of shame and regain their honor. If the act is very shameful, such as renouncing Islam, the tribe could act on behalf of everyone and kill the offender to regain the honor.

This is a grim, heart breaking reality for so many. The question of bringing ” the good news” to tribal groups begs to be addressed.

Is it worth it?

If we hesitate to answer that, I believe it is right for us to ask ourselves, have we counted the cost of believing and following Jesus?

The reality is-YES-he is that worth it. He is worth it a thousand times over. David says in the Psalms that God’s love is greater than life itself. Paul says to die would be better than living because he would be with Christ. Jesus says “take up your cross and follow me.” Indeed he is worth it. For me and for tribal people groups.

The time spent with those who have counted the cost here has taught me much about this great love-that surely it is better than life itself. I don’t have any risk being an american Christian here but for a Muslim to become Christian, they risk everything.

I am satisfied and excited to be working with them to see more people experience this love.






Salt in an Open Wound

You can’t move down-like a helium balloon you have one direction. The pale liquid seeps into every orifice and open crack with a burning sensation enough to bring any grown man to tears. Indeed, you are in the Dead Sea.

This was exploratory week. I have a whole new vocabulary for cool places I have been now.

  1. Jesus’ Baptism site
  2. Rock that Moses struck for water (water still is coming out!)
  3. Dead Sea
  4. Old Orthodox churches
  5. A Castle
  6. A Roman Theater
  7. One of the Decapolis
  8. Mount where Israel and Moses first saw the Promise Land

Fascinating to see the landscape and ruins of some biblical sites. Its incredible to me that this is where God was first working and raising up followers and now its less than 2% culturally Christian.

Our last big work here in the Middle East will be with the hospital. Looking forward to helping out in any way they need us too! Further updates to come!


Got Creativity?


Mosque near our house this morning.


Cool flower.

Tapping shoes, load trombone, practicing a lovely song, 

Swimming lessons, handstands, writing a poem and not a rant

Guitar strum, big painting, girl swinging from the trapeze.

This was the most creative way I could think of, on the spot, to start this post.

Creativity. I was thinking a lot about creativity today.

Not referring or limiting creativity “to the arts”, which really has no clear definition, or to unique people. Because I think all people have the ability to be creative in their different skills and creativity can come from anything. At the same time, It seems creativity requires discipline and critical thinking-which can result in your own ideas having meaning.

I am curious to know if people think they have been encouraged or discouraged to be creative?

I heard a good story this week about a girl who grew up in the 1930’s, named Gillian Lynne. In elementary school, the teachers wrote to her parents saying that she might have a learning disability because she has trouble concentrating and doing her work. She went to the doctor and the doctor left the room and turned on some music. The same minute, Gillian started to move to the music. The doctor said to her mother, your child isn’t sick, she is a dancer. Her mother than put her in dance school and Gillian grew up to founder a dance company in Britain, a multimillionaire, and worked on the performances of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.

Another doctor today probably would have diagnosed her with ADHD, gave her some medication, and told her to try to sit still.

Now my hope in thinking and writing this isn’t to bash modern medicine but rather to think about how children and adults are sometimes geared away from creativity. Just in my own schooling and the majority of my peers-math and science were first, followed by language and history,ect-leading down to the last subjects given which were given the least amount of time and consistently changing teachers, the arts.

I was inspired to think about creativity due to a Muslim man stopping me yesterday because I had my guitar with me from teaching. He said he had never listened to music his whole life because it was “Haram” (forbidden in Islam).

This statement was really thought provoking and sad. Not only because there was no way he has listened to The Beatles but because of all the Gillian’s that aren’t coming from the Middle East. So many people full of creativity being told is not only honorable but sinful.

It brings me a lot of Joy when I open up the Bible, the first thing I learn about God is that he is a creator.

We get to create because God does.


Where’s the Beef?

What is harder than you think to find in this part of the Middle East? Red Meat. This week we found it!

Here are two, not so, Middle Eastern dishes from the bovine:

Beef and mint Risotto.

Beef Rice

Beet and Beef Lunch.

Steak with Beets

Other than eating, my week has been constructive and gratifying. I am Mid-way through week 2 of Summer school. Some highlights:

  1. Adam, Noah, and Abram impersonations
  2. Musical chairs
  3. Dance off
  4. Fake beard made of pita
  5. Human water magnet, on throw the water balloon at someone day
  6. Hand motions
  7. English grammar lessons
  8. Teaching Christians and Muslims bible stories

The day goes: Awake, breakfast, arrive at church 8AM-set up today’s class, dress up as ridiculous as I can to become the character in the story, Meet and pray with teachers, Sing, teach the 5th grade, coffee break, teach the 6th grade, join the 5th and 6th grade for the daily activity, meet about the day, go plan the next days meeting.

Really satisfactory work. It has been an opportunity to make new friendships, serve the local church, practice our Arabic, and invest in the young community here. I invite you to pray especially for this week and next. All the stories we have been teaching have been old testament foreshadows of Christ. This next week we will share the gospel stories and close out the school. Pray for the kids and teachers hearing these stories.

Always great fun and joy to be doing this with you!


School is Cool.

kid in CLass sun classroom

Cash money was on the table and all eyes were on me. Shoot. Once again my poor Arabic has landed me in an unintended event.  A gambling circle. No good. These guys take there football serious. One fake phone call and I was in the clear. Score.

I am writing in the 90’s style inter-web cafe’ and just received a free coffee. (!) Actually, I think this is the 3rd or so “Welcome to Jordan” coffee I have had on the walk over here. I lost track. The Coffee here is so strong its all a blur.

This week has been nothing sort of exhilarating. I have been a Bible and English teacher for the 5th and 6th grade summer school! In our town, the local church runs a 3 week school for Muslims and Christians. Half the class time and activities are Bible lessons and the other English. I am up to my pocket protector with “Simon says” and “123-Eyes on me!

Its good stuff. A unique and rare opportunity for the church to work with Muslim kids so boldly. Similar to the Syrian outreach, Muslims are only allowing there children in the church because of the need it fills.

Poor education seams to be a predominate issue for many children-due to social status and race. The English curriculum is a good way to help them with there education and grow relationships with the families. Very honored to be teaching these kids and working with the local church.

Other details: 3 different Muslims and an Imam passionately tried to convert me to Islam this week-unsuccessful. People here are now significantly more tired and irritable due to Ramadan (month of fasting while the sun is up). And Jon and I were confirmed to working in the north for 3 weeks in August!

We are grateful for your reading and prays. Please continue to pray for our time here and especially for the school these next few weeks.



I know what your thinking. I am late for the food post.

In my defense the week was uniquely busy, but good, and I found that my name in Arabic is Yacub.

Enough excuses.

I decided on a less traditional Middle Eastern dish when I realized I had the ingredients at my finger tips for that one french dish I know. The rodent inspired dish: Ratatouille. Thank’s Pixar.



This past week I have been working on a bible and English series for our local church. There will be 3 weeks of summer school and I get to teach the munchkins of 5th and 6th grade. We will truly see who is smarter than a 5th grader *(home school tv reference).

We have know been working here 4 1/2 weeks. Its gone fast and allowed me a lot of time to befriend and talk with the local people.

This past week I was having a particularly interesting conversation with an old man about religion. He closed the conversation saying,”I have studied the Qran for 50 years and have found no flaw. If you find a flaw, tell me, and I will become Christian.”

I love this. It makes sense, right? We as humans want the truth. If Islam were true, wouldn’t you want to be Muslim?

I think when I am talking about truth and faith with others, I must be ready and willing to examine my faith while I ask them to examine theirs.

“Hold truth with an open hand.”
(Ryan Keating)



Proud to join the mass with a blog post about food.

Round one is over and the scores are in. I have just completed the first of many Friday dishes. This food is a Middle Eastern salad called Fattoush.

It took a me a handful of minutes to bargain with the pros selling the produce. Two 12 years old boys are managing and selling  produce from this market. I think they got me on the lemon. Boys.

On another note-the city is filled with refugees who have been kicked out of there country due to the civil war in Syria. Predominantly Muslim families who have nothing are now trying to survive and feed there families in a foreign city. They are Muslim and have probably have never been in a church.

Tomorrow, dozens of Syrian women will come to the small church we attend and receive food, diapers, and hope. They will all here the gospel. For many, it will be the first time hearing it. .

It thrills me to get to serve in this way and pray for these families. I am even more thrilled to invite you to join me. Pray with me for these families who don’t have homes, jobs, or Christ.


A Camel and the Sheep

24th day spent here in the East. My Arabic is going better then my consistency to blog.

However, things are looking brighter for blogging, Pily and I are now under a wager to make a Middle Eastern dish every Friday and blog about it. I just don’t think there are enough blogs about food out there. I’ll try to incorporate more. Here is my online commitment.

I thought about mentioning the weather but I think that breaks a playground rule of a blog. Instead, I’ll make a list. Everyone likes lists.

Stuff to see:
1. Kids sharing a pair of roller blades
2. A camel
3. A sheep
4. The tallest flag pole in the world
5. Hundreds of people back to back trading birds
6. Eating the birds
7. People staying up till 4 AM to watch the world cup
8. A drink made of just ground sugar cane
9. Trash bag kites

Navigation and coordination through this city are improving. I think its fun and its acceptable to walk in the middle or side of the road. I did some math and I think on average I get to walk at least 3 Miles a day. The elliptical’s got nothing on this city.

My time with the people and culture has been nothing short of rich and fascinating. Daily, more ideas and concepts about culture, religion, and language are coming to light. Its exciting. I love the Middle East and urge you to pray for the region.

I also got the chance to meet with an Arabic student who was from Austria today. It is so encouraging to speak with this Bio Chemist who is thinking about working in this region. There is great need-but there is also great need where ever you are. My hope is that out of love, many will be inspired to address and act on behalf of the worlds biggest need in some of the most needed places. Today, there are 2.91 Billion people with no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize their own people. This is roughly 43% of the worlds nations without access to the gospel.

If I really believe what the bible says about the lost, this statistic becomes a serious life altering reality.

It gives me purpose and I have immense joy to co-laborer with Christ in this task. I am so satisfied and grateful to be learning and preparing for the long term work. Thanks always for joining me and praying for this region!