Helena Scott, our Jordan Country Director, sent us this update on Friday morning…
Last year, the opening of the Olive Tree Centre in Madaba, Jordan was a pivotal moment for FRRME and the refugee community we support. The Centre is focused on our mission to bring ‘hope, help and healing’ to the refugees. The excitement that was in the air on the opening night last October was contagious.
Today, with the world battling COVID19 our mission remains more important than ever! Our days are marked by stress, worry and fear of the unknown. At this time I’d like us to remember the resilience of the olive tree. We chose it as symbol for the people we support and the ever present strength of the refugee communities.
Fear and Lockdown
On March 15th, due to the Jordanian government mandate that all schools, centres and gyms close, our own centre temporarily shut down in compliance. A few days later, voluntary quarantine was introduced, followed by complete ‘lockdown’ quarantine, with very little warning, enforced by the military on the streets.
It was announced that anyone who was in violation would be arrested immediately. Over 600 arrests occurred on the first day. The lockdown was extended unexpectedly and fear and panic ensued. Jordan is a country with huge numbers of refugees and many struggling Jordanians. They don’t have the resources to stock pile food or prepare for long periods of quarantine. The government arranged a delivery of essentials (water and bread), but in some places fights broke out. Now they have temporarily lifted the ban, allowing small shops to open during set hours. Only shopping by foot is permitted.
Within that time frame those of us who can, stand in socially distanced lines, waiting often for hours in the hope that we can replenish supplies with very limited options (anything fresh has been wiped out instantly).
A contrast between us and them!
I come from a big supportive family with a mother who loves to feed people. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever not known if food or water would be available. I’ve been on limited budgets before, or gone on various diets, which were a choice. But I always knew if worst came to worst I could go home to picturesque New Hampshire and be fed!
However, the refugees we support often worry about getting enough to eat – it is a constant reality for them, worsened greatly by the current situation. My main concern this week is prioritising ways to get supplies to them.
But I am struck by their strength, patience and community spirit during such a stressful and tense time.
While FRRME supports them via food packages and supplies, this community is also part of my support system. They provide me with hope and positivity during these uncertain times.
I race around trying to consolidate food packages to get to them, made up of any of the limited items still on the shelf. We don’t know when the shops will close completely again. The refugees subdue their fear and worry by means of their faith. And they pray.
Their faith and resilience has helped them withstand much already: persecution; being forced to flee their country as refugees and many other obstacles that would seem insurmountable to us. I witness their courage and faith daily and it is truly inspiring.
A 16 year old English student who I have been teaching recently created an online support group called ‘The Hope’. Through it we continue English classes and stay in touch. She assured me, “Be patient, everything will end with the power of the Lord. Stay safe.”
In these harrowing and unstable times, the refugees we support certainly haven’t forgotten our mission of ‘hope, help & healing’.
FRRME will do everything in our power to help them face these challenging times and bring hope, help and healing to them. The olive tree doesn’t die; it withstands the ravages of time with vitality and strength. Any support you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Postscript: We had some lovely messages in response to last week’s email about Helena’s work. With their permission we are sharing three of them…
I am always inspired by these email reports and I do keep up my CAF contributions to FRRME. I am so struck with this young woman, Helena, and if she has any particular need or news would be happy to help in whatever way I am able. I am an elderly pensioner; however, at her age I was a missionary teacher in Lahore and she reminds me so much of that youthful engagement and enthusiasm one felt so long ago. Tell her that as I have lived my life those years remain the great treasure of gold from which so much else flowed and rewarded me. I just know that this will be true for her no matter how difficult the adjustments and deprivations might be.
That was an absolutely inspiring email. Thanks to Helena and to you.
To all of you
Many thanks for this ongoing information. You will be in my prayers and may God bless and multiply all your work to cover every need! May He protect and provide for you in every way!Sometimes all we can do is offer our prayers to God for our brothers and sisters, and we know the prayers of the righteous avail much! Because we are righteous in Christ and not of ourselves..thank God! I consider it a privilege to pray on behalf of these precious ones on God’s eyes.
A word about you and your circumstances….
During the Coronavirus Pandemic our own economy has been battered. Many people’s jobs are at risk across the world. Others with investments have lost huge amounts. We therefore completely understand if you are unable to provide a donation. But if you are able to do so we would be very grateful.
Please help if you can
You can make a donation via our donate page.
You will find numerous options for how to donate. During the UK ‘lockdown’ we encourage you to make any donation by direct transfer to our bank account specifically set aside for donations. The account name is FRRME. The Sort Code is 20-67-49 and the Account No is 13705420.
American supporters wishing to make a donation can do so here.