Select Page
Jordan: The Faithfulness of God

Jordan: The Faithfulness of God

Your support this quarter has helped us provide many needy families in Jordan with basic necessities.

Our distribution partner in Jordan reports:

We have delivered food coupons to refugee families and talk about an on-time God!

To protect Jordan’s fragile economy, refugees (Iraqi) are forbidden to work, leaving heads of households without the means to provide basic necessities for their families. Some of the families try to find work (under the table) but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work is very often not available. We provide these families with quarterly food coupons. The coupons are redeemable at designated markets, and the amount given is based on the size of the family.

One of our leaders, Amir, delivered food coupons to a couple who were on the brink of desperation. “When the couple opened the door and I handed them the food coupon, the woman started to cry,” Amir said. “Yesterday everything we had was gone, we have no food, nothing left. And here you are this morning, relief came just in time,” the lady said tearfully.

Jordan is currently under curfew. The authorities announced that a full lock-down would be implemented in certain areas following a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. The curfew imposes problems and creates an even greater need for refugee families.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We send our sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks for your support of our mission. We are blessed to have you stand with us in prayer. Not only us, but your brothers and sisters in Christ thank you from the bottom of their heart.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

Pastors in Jordan talk about Ministry during COVID-19

Pastors in Jordan talk about Ministry during COVID-19

What is it like to be a pastor in the Middle East during the time of the coronavirus? Jordanian pastors David and John gave Voice of the Martyrs Australia an insight into how things were and still are for their churches and congregations in this season.

Pastor David is an active evangelist who frequently suffers persecution from Jordanian authorities and local Muslim leaders. He leads the ministry of his local church and has developed many projects throughout the country to reach out to locals and refugees. In recent years, he has baptised over 300 people, many of whom are Muslim background believers. Because of this, he is constantly being monitored by the community.

Pastor John leads alongside Pastor David in their local church. He is their liaison and administrator for all the ministry they do together. Much like Pastor David, he also frequently experiences persecution.

What is it like to be a pastor and Christian in Jordan under the curfews in place due to COVID-19?
Pastor David: It is not easy to be a shepherd in this time. It is hard being away from my people. I want to visit and encourage them but we have to stay away from them physically. For me, phone calls and Facebook just aren’t enough. There are also many people who need help. We know that they’re there but we’re unable to approach them.

Pastor John: The difficulty lies in not being able to fulfil the needs of others and move freely to help. We tried to get permission to be able to go out and meet the needs of so many, but we were rejected. Also, not being able to do church services properly. Not everyone follows the online services and we can’t reach out to the families as we normally would. We try to do our best with whatever means we have, but sometimes it is not enough.

Do you think that Christians have suffered any religious persecution in Jordan because of the coronavirus?
PD: There is no problem against Christians and religious persecution in Jordan because of the coronavirus. The government has imposed the same restrictions on all religions in the same way. However, the government recognised more the traditional churches, like Catholic and Orthodox in comparison with the Protestants and gave them more permissions to move and help the needy.

PJ: The word ‘Christian’ is used here to describe all kinds of Christians from different denominations. Some are being treated differently. You may find a church priest moving around and not being questioned, but a pastor is not allowed to move freely outside his house. The lockdown is for all religions, Muslims, and Christians. But there is a privilege given to some. Also, persecution comes from the others as well. Our names are not mentioned even when we give or offer any help to anyone. People deny us and don’t want to recognise us in any way. Whatever we do, Christians give the credit to the historical churches. It’s something we have suffered for a long time but has increased in this period.

How has God given you the wisdom to encourage church disciples and minister God’s Word in this time?
PD: The church has leaders and pastors who are meeting together daily through WhatsApp, discussing the needs of the people and, even with the limitations, how we can act and support our congregations. As well as WhatsApp groups, we are also communicating and encouraging people through the church Facebook page and broadcasting the Sunday service. We’re also in touch with them by phone to see how they are doing. During the quarantine, people seem closer to God and they feel more in need of the church’s support. They are interacting so well with each other; it has been amazing to see.

PJ: Yes! This is what makes us happy and rejoice in the Lord in this critical time. Though it wasn’t as we desired, we were able to use our social media, WhatsApp and Facebook, to encourage others. We receive lots of phone calls from people asking for prayers. We are in touch with the church congregation daily. We created a WhatsApp group for this purpose and the Holy Spirit is encouraging all.

Is it possible to predict losses because of the coronavirus crisis? How do you think the church will be hurt by the crisis?
PD: The church lost donors and partners who were vital in providing ministry funds to buy food for people. It is really important that the donors keep their commitment to helping the church, even during the crisis, in order for the ministry to be able to meet basic needs.

Also, the work in Jordan is carried out by volunteers who visit from all over the world. We have a guest house that receives the volunteers and serves as a means of generating income. This in turn raises funds that are used primarily to pay the annual rent for the seven physical spaces we use in carrying out our ministry.

Due to current travel restrictions, we will not be able to receive volunteers for the time being, which considerably decreases the ministry’s budget.

PJ: It will take time for us to be able to gather the flock again. People became used to being home and have gotten used to laziness. Yes, there will be losses but we will, in His name, reach out and come back to our beginnings. Even better!

Do you expect new prospects for the church after this crisis?
PD: I hope that people will draw closer to God and will realise how short their lives are. I believe that people will become more committed to the church and that this is a good opportunity for the church to grow because Jesus is the only hope and light for this darkness.

PJ: I think it is a must! We need to pray and plan well after we come back. God has put into my heart to do lots of worship, for we miss singing to the Lord as a group of people. I might say that I do have a dream which is to see the church growing and the people rising and all coming to worship and listen to the Word of God. The true family must reunite and restart to go after the Great Commission that the Lord has commanded us to do.

If you would like to support these two pastors and others doing similar work in restricted nations, please donate to our Front Line Ministry fund.

Our Front Line Ministry fund directly assists pastors, evangelists and full-time Christian workers who courageously minister in the face of hostility and persecution. It includes provision to support underground Bible colleges, leadership training, evangelism resources, computers, transportation, small business equipment, pastor support programmes and equipping churches with resources.

To support this project go to  vom.com.au/donate

Project: Christmas Care 2019

Project: Christmas Care 2019

Christmas Care 2019 brought much needed hope to children in Cameroon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Jordan.

More than 300 Christmas Care packs were distributed in Far North, North and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Eighty per cent of children who received the packs had been through the terrors of an attack by Boko Haram and 20% were orphaned as a result.

In Nigeria, over 725 children received Christmas Care packs. Our distribution partner specifically targeted orphaned or impoverished children and teens.

Many of the children were residents of a children’s crisis care home, while others were children of widows or those living in conflict areas.

Each child received a bag containing a Bible, as well as books, pens, pencils and a maths set for school.

Some of the funds also went to providing school fees for children, so they were able to start or return to school, and medical care for students at a local clinic.

Our distribution partner in Pakistan reports that Christmas Care pack distribution came at a good time for brick kiln workers in Lahore. Many were out of work as heavy smog in Lahore and surrounding areas meant that the government had ordered the brick kilns to shut down until further notice. As brick kiln workers are only paid for the number of bricks made in a day, they were not receiving an income.

The children received jumpers, dried fruit, biscuits, lollies, Christian story books, colouring pencils and colouring books. While their families also received a bag of flour, sugar, ghee/cooking oil, tea bags, noodles, rice, lentils and a Bible.

Families, especially the children, were overjoyed with receiving gifts and food for Christmas.

In Jordan, Christmas Care brought joy to children who escaped Iraq, with their families, due to persecution.

Our distribution partner reports that they were able to distribute more than 200 Christmas Care packs to Iraqi Christian refugee families in Jordan. Each pack contained a children’s Bible, school supplies and food items.

Our Christmas Care project will resume in October 2020, bringing joy to the most vulnerable victims of persecution.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

Ali’s Story

Ali’s Story

Life was tough for Ali even as a Muslim in Syria but when he was forced to flee seven years ago, he found Christ.

Ali was living in a town in Syria where known terrorists with links to Islamic State were also residing; in fact, he had even rejected their invitation to join them.

One day, a bomb went off in his town, injuring him and many others.

When he was in hospital recovering from his injuries, the government, who were investigating the bombing, considered everyone in the town a terrorist – even those who were innocent.

When he was released from the hospital, Ali was immediately arrested by the secret police and sent to jail.
Jail in Syria was a horrific experience for Ali.

“I was beaten every single day and subjected to all kinds of torture just to get me to confess that I was a terrorist. I was tied up, given electric shocks and hung upside down daily,” he recalls.

Every day he expected to die, as many people were killed.

By chance, another man with the same name was imprisoned. This man happened to be the son of an army general and was to be released. Due to an error, officials mistakenly released Ali instead and after 14 months in jail, he was freed.

Islamic State found out that Ali had been released and were plotting to kill him. “No one was released from jail unless they worked for the secret police and, also because I rejected them, they were after me.”

The prison authorities soon discovered their error, but Ali acted quickly and fled the country. He first flew to Lebanon with his mother and sister before moving to Jordan to live.

After living in Jordan for a few years, Ali married, and his wife soon became pregnant but tragically she died in childbirth. Ali was left a widower with a newborn son.

At this time Ali was still a devout Muslim, reciting the Koran daily. One day, he noticed something new – that the Koran mentioned the prophet named Jesus more than it mentioned Mohammed.

“I noticed that this character was different, he wasn’t just a normal prophet, he acted different and spoke of bringing peace,” Ali says.

He met with a known Christian pastor, who had been helping him, and asked him for a Bible.

“I wanted to know about Christians,” he says. “In Islam and in mosques they talk about Christians as if they are bad people. But when I came to Jordan these bad people were the only ones to help me, the only ones to feed me, the only ones who encouraged me. These ‘bad people’ were actually good people.”

Ali began to read the Bible and gave his life to Jesus. He soon joined the church and began ministry.
Sadly, his difficulties didn’t end there.

The Muslim company that he worked for discovered he had converted to Christianity and made his life difficult before framing him for stealing money and firing him. They also told other companies not to hire him.

Ali hasn’t had permanent work for six months and he still suffers the physical effects from his time in prison, but cannot afford adequate medical care. He is serving the Lord, ministering to Muslims through the Koran and the Bible.

The local pastor who led Ali to the Lord continues to help him and says he would love to see Ali in full-time ministry. He believes he has a gift to help other Muslims find Christ.

VOM will continue to help refugees in Jordan.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

Syrian Refugees –  Raised from the Dead

Syrian Refugees – Raised from the Dead

The country of Jordan has taken in nearly 1.5 million refugees as a result of the civil war in Syria. Rent and food prices have doubled or trebled, and there aren’t enough jobs for those who need them. Families survive on handouts and live crammed together in apartment buildings. But these desperate people fleeing militant Islam are often open to the message of the Gospel, and VOM partners in the region are sharing the love of Jesus with them. For one family, it made all the difference.

I left Syria two years ago,” said Um Hana, “when the Syrian army entered our house, took my husband and tried to rape me. I ran away, but they took my husband and burned down our house in front of us. I came alone to Jordan, travelling with my children. It is very dangerous for a woman to travel alone. When my husband came out of prison three months later, he joined us. He still has scars on his back from where the police hit him.”

Finding nothing else, the family moved into a one-bedroom apartment with some other family members. Five adults and 15 children share the space.

“In Syria, I was a good Muslim,” Um Hana said. “I prayed from time to time, but not five times a day. After we had been in Jordan eight months, a sheik from Saudi Arabia came to our house. He offered us some dates to eat. But when he saw our 8-year-old daughter, his eyes lit up. He offered to buy her.”

Um Hana’s husband began to weep as his wife told the story to a VOM partner. The VOM partner told them this sort of thing happens often in the area. Girls are used and then left to fend for themselves. It is extremely shameful and traumatic for them and their families.

“After this, we started thinking about Islam and asking ourselves about it,” Um Hana said. One week later, the VOM partner met them and began to visit them regularly, speaking about Jesus. After about a year of visits, Um Hana and her husband decided to accept Christ.

Jesus can do everything
“I found the way,” she said. “I had a big burden on me, but now I am free. Directly, I started to love the people around me more. When I first arrived in Jordan, I hated almost everyone, but now I am starting to love the people around me. Now I can forgive people, and I feel that my sins are forgiven.”

“When I look at others, I see they do not know what to do,” she said. “My sister, who also accepted Jesus, and I talk about how we can share Jesus with our relatives. Even my mother, who lives with me, almost every day I tell her a story from the Bible.

“Recently, I read the story where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When I look at my old life, I was like that man, but now Lazarus is alive again. Jesus can do everything.”