Joy returned to the hearts of Iraqis in Madaba, Jordan this week. We opened The Olive Tree Centre for refugees with much singing and laughter. It was something to behold. The place was packed with people of all ages. Women in traditional costumes from the north of Iraq. Men serving delicious food on the large flat roof under the stars. Teenage lads chatting in groups. Girls singing their national song……. Traumatised people who had fled from the murderous army of ISIS.

The Olive Tree Centre in Madaba Jordan on its opening night

Moving words

An Iraqi man came up to me on the roof. His words moved me deeply.

“I want to thank you and your charity for everything you have done to help us. And for tonight. Look at everyone here. All are happy. I have lived here for one and a half years now. This is the first day I have been happy.”

I felt tears welling in my eyes as he continued to tell of the joy we had brought them through providing a refugee centre to come together. Crucially to receive therapeutic benefits from a range of programmes. To learn English and various other skills. Cooking Iraqi food – the tastes of their homeland. To see their children blessed through art, play and music programmes. And for the youth to be blessed through a range of activities.

Iraqi women in traditional costume at the Olive Tree Centre opening night

You enabled us to open The Olive Tree Centre – thank you

You, our donors, have achieved this. And so I kept saying this week to the Iraqi Christians “We are just the channel for the love of Christians in the UK, the USA and around the world. We are privileged to be here to help you.”

The night of the opening of The Olive Tree Centre was one of the joys of my life! So much happiness where there had been so much despair.

We hope we can open many such centres in Jordan over the next three years. Will you, can you help us? We have raised £18,000 of our £30,000 target for the first year’s costs. We also want to plan more in Jordan, working in partnership with FRRME America and UK Trusts.

Traditional Iraqi songs were sung by the refugees at the Olive Tree Centre opening

A prayer for the Iraqi refugees in Jordan

Lord for these people who have suffered so much we ask you in Christ’s name to give ‘a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.’ We thank you that this transformation has begun for many. May many more come into this blessing. Amen.

Mike Simpson FRRME CEO, 1st November 2019

Help The Olive Tree Centre grow

Please support The Olive Tree Centre for refugees in Madaba, Jordan by making a donation via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate). Alternatively, you can send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom. American supporters wishing to make a donation can do so here.